Lissy Liu Beef Stew

By on May 15, 2016

They tell me it’s been snowing in Kaiping. Hard to believe! It’s time for them to make Lissy Liu Beef Stew.

I’ve been threatening to put this recipe up here for a while, but delayed on account of the fact that it’s not really beef stewing weather in Sydney at this time of the year. However, for the blizzard hit friends and family in Kaiping and Guangzhou; and the fact that our weather in Sydney has cooled down a bit, I must now relent and present Lissy Liu Beef Stew.

My friend Lissy presented me with this recipe for beef stew back in 2012. It was a carefully printed piece of A4 paper and each of the ingredients came with a photo in case I didn’t know what they were. The quantities for the ingredients were a bit loose and the explanation of how to construct this stew was very confusing, and some of it made no sense at all, but I wanted to make it because Lissy had shared the recipe with me and I was keen to respect her intent.

When I came around to making the recipe, I changed a number of directions so that it made more sense as a beef stew, but tried to stay as close as I could to the original.

I thought this spicy beef stew was something handed down to her by her grandmother in the Henan province. I found out some time later that I was completely mistaken. No, this was not some ancient recipe from the dawn of civilisation. One of her friends made something similar in the university dorm and Lissy tried to copy the recipe. It was cooked in a rice cooker. Ah ha! And now I know that it is as old as about 2010…

This recipe has become a family favourite and the name is simply abbreviated these days to LLBS. It’s a regular participant in family celebrations and always makes an appearance if Lissy Liu is coming to visit.

And before I give the recipe, is it really snowing in Kaiping? Hard to believe, but the locals think it’s snow. I thought it might have been hail, and lost in the translation, and I don’t have much experience with snow, but my guess is that it was probably sleet. It was definitely snowing in Guangzhou however, which to me is ridiculous!

Regarding the ingredients, don’t go trying to buy sichuan peppercorns in Ma On Shan in Hong Kong. You’ll fail, like I did. The best beef for this is at the market in Ma On Shan. Look for the one and only butcher and then ask him to rip the meat from the beef ribs with his bare hands. Otherwise go to your local supermarket and buy some stewing beef…

Lissy Liu Beef Stew (aka LLBS)


  • 1 kg beef shank
  • 3 potatoes, diced thickly
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 3 dried chillis
  • 3 star anise
  • 10 Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS Shao Xing
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • Coriander leaves, for garnish


  • Cut beef into cubes and place ina bowl with soy and shao Xing. (Include the bones!) Marinade for 20 minutes.
  • Heat oil in casserole pot and add sugar, green onion, ginger, garlic, tomato, star anise, sichuan pepper, dried chilli; heat until fragrant.
  • Add the beef and fry until colour changes to brown.
  • Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 2 hours, or until beef becomes soft. (It looks really unappealing at this point. Don’t lose heart…)
  • Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Serve with rice and garnish with green onions and coriander.

Copied in a university in Henan and recreated in a rice cooker. Migrated to Australia and recreated again. (And for the record, returned to China in 2014 to its natural home.

Hope you love Lissy Liu Beef Stew! Let me know if you made it and enjoyed.

  1. Reply


    June 10, 2016


  2. Reply

    Liz Paz de Liu

    June 9, 2016

    I am 100% agree with Lena!

  3. Reply


    June 7, 2016

    You are a good writer and you are also a good cook!

  4. Reply


    June 7, 2016

    i will try to made this on this weekend
    thank you for sharing!

  5. Reply


    June 4, 2016

    I made this yesterday. The sauce was a bit thin but the beef was melt in your mouth. It is a good winter dish!

    • Rob Harvey

      Rob Harvey

      June 5, 2016

      It’s a regular visitor to our house in winter Warren. * mix a teaspoon of corn flour with some cold water and tip it in at the end. That should thicken it up a bit for you.



I quit my marketing job 20 years ago to become a writer, only I ended up writing html instead of words. Now I'm just writing words. I have a passion for China, through my partner Shuk, a passion for cooking and a passion for history. Oh, and a keen eye for the absurd! Have some fun on these pages and I look forward to your feedback. Rob.

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