This instant pot beef brisket stew with daikon radish is an authentic Chinese comfort food dish made easy in the pressure cooker.
Beef brisket is a very tough cut of meat, full of connective tissue. It’s also a nutritious cut of meat, that you can eat your collagen from. If the connective tissue is fully cooked through, beef brisket is ultra-delicious. This is why using a pressure cooker or Instant pot is a game-changer to properly cook the brisket in a significantly shorter amount of time.
2-Part Pressure Cooking
Because beef brisket is so tough, I also have a great trick for cutting it easily – you will want to cook the brisket first, before cutting it into desired size. This trick is reflected in the recipe below that this instant pot beef brisket stew is cooked twice in the Instant Pot. The pause is the middle serves two purposes, one allowing the beef brisket to be cut into bite size, the other allowing the daikon radish to be added only near the end of the cooking process because daikon requires much less cooking time than the beef brisket. So many people (myself included when I started cooking beef brisket many years ago) makes the mistakes of cutting the beef brisket raw, wasting a lot of time and efforts; others cook the daikon radish along with the beef brisket from the beginning, which will result in overly cooked daikon.
Cooking with Daikon Radish
The instant pot beef brisket stew with daikon radish is also a classic way to use daikon. Daikon generally pairs well with beef and benefits from soaking up the flavours of a meat. But daikon can also be used in a raw vegan style, try this Ginger Orange Pickled Daikon + Immune Shot recipe, which is also Paleo, Whole30 and Vegan. You will love it!
Blanching the Beef for Perfect Broth
One last thing to point out, before I dive right into the recipe: in Chinese cooking, meats are always blanched first for stew or soup recipes. This step is very important in order to yield beautiful broth. Although some people prefer to skim the foam and scum from the top and reuse the same water in the recipe, my preference is always to discard the blanching water. Here are a few more examples where I blanch and discard the first boil of water in Chinese soup recipes:
- Ginseng Chicken Soup: The Ultimate Nourishing Soup for Energy, Brain Function and Immune Support
- Instant Pot Shiitake Ginger Chicken Bone Broth (All Purpose Asian Stock)
- Natural PMS Remedy: PMS Relief Herbal Chicken Soup (四物汤)
- Adrenal Support Chinese Herbs And Pig Stomach Soup (四神汤)
Now that we have ensured the meats are blanched, the final broth of the dish will be clean and beautiful. In addition, the broth of the Instant Pot beef brisket stew will also be delicious and nutritious. I usually have left over broth after all the beef brisket and daikon are eaten. The broth will make a wonderful base for noodle soup the next day.
Instant Pot Beef Brisket Stew with Daikon Radish
- 3 lb. beef brisket
- 3 lb. daikon radish, approx. 2 medium
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup naturally-brewed tamari soy sauce (for gluten-free, use Tamari instead)
- 1/3 cup cooking rice wine
- 2 inch ginger root
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 whole star anise
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder or 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 tbsp unrefined sugar of choice
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp green onion, finely chopped (optional for garnish)
- 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped (optional for garnish)
- In a large stock pot, submerge whole beef brisket (see recipe note below) in cold water. Bring the pot to a boil, simmer for 1-2 minutes to release foam and impurity from the beef. Turn off heat, throw away the water, and wash scum off the beef.
- Meanwhile, lightly smash the peeled garlic, and cut the ginger root into thin slices. This will help the garlic and ginger to infuse more flavour into the stew.
- Place the clean beef brisket into the Instant Pot. Add 1 and 1/2 cup of water, 3 cloves of smashed garlic, ginger slices, soy sauce or tamari, rice cooking wine, fennel seeds, star anise, cinnamon, sugar and sea salt according to ingredient amount above.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot, and shut off the steam valve. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure cooking, for 50 minutes.
- When cooking is done, release the pressure by opening the valve, then open the lid. Remove the whole beef brisket (see recipe note below) from the Instant Pot, and let it cool for a few minutes to be ready for cutting. Leave the beef broth in the Instant Pot.
- (Optional) Meanwhile, you may remove the spices, such as ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick from the broth in the Instant Pot, if you don't want them in the finished dish. This is because star anise and cinnamon stick aren't edible and some people don't eat the ginger pieces. Most of the flavour of the spices should have been cooked into the beef and broth. The garlic should have dissolved. If you don't mind pieces of spices in the final dish, you may skip this step.
- Peel the skin of daikon radish and cut the daikon into large cubes. Cut the beef brisket into same size cubes.
- Add the daikon pieces into the Instant Pot, submerged in the beef broth. Next, add the beef brisket pieces on top of the daikon. Because there is not a lot of broth to cover both the beef and daikon, thus the daikon is placed on the bottom to ensure they soak up all the flavour of the beef broth.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot, and shut off the steam valve. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure cooking, for 12 minutes.
- When cooking is done, release the pressure by opening the valve. The beef brisket stew is ready to be served. Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro.
- Cooking the beef brisket first before cutting is a great time-saving trick I use. Cutting raw beef brisket is hard work, due to the large amount of connective tissue in the brisket cut. Once the beef brisket is cooked through, it's very easy to cut into desired size.
- You can also make a bouquet garni with cheese cloth or a tea ball, to make removal of unwanted spices easier at step 6 above. What goes into the bouquet garni really depend on which spice you will not eat, and which spice will not simply dissolve into the stew.
- If there is broth left after all the beef and daikon are eaten, the leftover broth is great for making noodle soup the next day.