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Erica drum beef ruth calder potts
Photo by Ruth Calder-Potts

Hong Sao-style beef with sesame broccoli

You can find more of Erica Drum's recipes in the February edition of FOOD&WINE Magazine, available free with the Business Post this Sunday, February 7.


Virtual chef Erica Drum has spent the pandemic teaching her followers how to make delicious dishes via Instagram and Zoom cookery classes. In the February edition of FOOD&WINE Magazine, she shares some of her favourites for you to try this month - but we have a sneak peek for you to try today ahead of the magazine's release.

Chefs around the country have been surprising all of us with their innovation throughout the past year. We’ve seen virtual cookalongs, digital cookbooks and more launch via the internet and social media, with many cooks pivoting their entire business model in order to keep up with the surprising demand - we’ve all been stuck at home for so long that we have nothing better to do than cook up a storm!

Erica Drum, chef and recipe developer, found that a huge amount of her work dried up when the pandemic struck. To keep herself busy, she began to go live on Instagram (@drums_kitchen) while she cooked meals and found a surprisingly large audience was tuning in to cook along with her and request meals. This, in turn, led to virtual dinner parties, appearances on Virgin Media’s The Six O’Clock Show and her hosting corporate cookalongs for companies all over the country.

Drum’s virtual cookery experiences have helped her followers to get cooking and eat well while things around the world are a bit scary. To inject some flavour into your meals this month, Erica has shared some delicious dishes with us for you to try - make sure to pick up your copy of FOOD&WINE Magazine with the Business Post on Sunday, February 7 to see her recipes. Follow Erica at @drums_kitchen for more.

Erica Drum, photo by Ruth Calder-Potts.
Erica Drum, photo by Ruth Calder-Potts.

Hong Sao-style beef with sesame broccoli

Serves 4

This is my version of a traditional Chinese braised pork dish called hong shao rou. This version is made with beef and is a really warming stew-like dish, it’s completely different to Irish stew but is just as comforting. If you want, you can substitute skinless pork belly for the beef and prepare the dish in the same way as below, just allow for about 30-50 minutes more time to simmer. I’ve served this stew with broccoli here, but it would just as well with green beans or mushrooms.


For the beef:

  • 800g sirloin or striploin steak, cut into chunks or thick strips
  • 1-2 tbsp oil, peanut, coconut or rapeseed is perfect
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Small thumb ginger, minced
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped, separate green tops and white ends.
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice
  • 4 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or Sherry
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 600ml-800ml water
  • 400g cooked rice
  • Red chilli, sliced to garnish

For the broccoli:

  • 1 head of broccoli, cut up into equal size florets
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, black or white
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


1. To make the beef stew, add one tablespoon of oil to a hot saucepan with a lid or casserole dish. Place half the beef into the hot oil and leave for three to four minutes to brown, then flip to sear the other side for a further three minutes before setting aside. Set aside and do the same with the remaining beef.

2. Once the beef has been set aside, do not clean the pan. Reduce to a medium heat, add the brown sugar and six tablespoons of water to the pot and scrape the bottom to deglaze – this will also make a caramel liquid to add sticky sweetness to the dish. Stir then leave to bubble for two minutes, before stirring again to make sure all the granules have dissolved and the mixture is becoming sticky.

3. Next add the garlic, ginger, whites of the spring onions, star anise and Chinese five spice. Stir for two to three minutes over the hot heat, add a little water if it is sticking too much.

4. Return the beef to the pan and stir well, then add in the wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and enough water to cover the meat fully. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to very low and cover. Leave to simmer on a very low heat for an hour or until your beef is very tender.

5. Remove the lid and crank the heat back up to reduce this liquid down to a thick, sticky sauce.

6. While the sauce is reducing, prepare the broccoli. Steam over a high heat, this should take less than 5 minutes, do not let it go too soft. In a large dry pan over a medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, then remove the pan from the heat. Pour in the oil and toss the broccoli into the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

7. Once the stewing liquid is reduced to a sticky sauce coating, turn off the heat. Scoop out the star anise before serving.

8. To serve, divide the stew between bowls. Garnish with the green parts of the spring onions, then serve with steamed rice and broccoli.

Don't forget to pick up your copy of FOOD&WINE Magazine in stores this Sunday or ​subscribe at businesspost.ie/select-plan for digital access to read FOOD&WINE Magazine online, as well as the Business Post, Irish Tatler and more - only €1 for the first month.