Chinese Beef Brisket Tendon Stew

June 30, 2023

I grew up eating Chinese beef brisket and tendon stew, typically served at Cantonese dim sum restaurants or as a main dish at banquet style Chinese restaurants. After being on a ketogenic meat-based diet for an extended period of time, I do occasionally miss the “asian flavours” and a lot of the other foods that I grew up eating, beef brisket stew being one of them!

chinese beef brisket double bowl

Unfortunately, the traditional HK-style beef brisket and tendon stew contains a lot of soy and sugar, in addition to other sauces like Chu Hou Paste, which is also soybean based. I have eliminated all these ingredients from my recipe and kept it as clean as possible, while still aiming to achieve and have respect for the traditional flavours.

chinese beef brisket double bowl hero shot


chinese beef brisket double bowl

⭐️ BEEF BRISKET OR FINGER MEAT – Brisket or finger meat will work best for this recipe as this is what is traditionally used for the dish. However, you may substitute for blade roast or chuck roast, as these two cuts will also fall apart tender in the Instant Pot.

⭐️ BEEF TENDONS – You may need to go to a speciality butcher or your local asian butcher to ask for these cuts, as they are not usually sold at traditional chain supermarkets. Tendons are the connective tissue that holds muscle to bone. They are pure protein, extremely rich in collagen, and are very nutritious.

⭐️ RED BOAT FISH SAUCE – A pure fish sauce with no added sugar, made only from anchovies. Provides saltiness and an umami flavour that complements and balances the dish.

⭐️ COCONUT AMINOS – This is a substitute for soy sauce that is made from the sap of coconuts.

⭐️ BEEF BROTH – This is used as a braising liquid for the Instant Pot and can be replaced with water, bone broth, or chicken broth.

⭐️ GINGER – Used to help cut any gaminess of the meat during the blanching process.

⭐️ FIVE SPICE POWDER To achieve the traditional Chinese flavours that this dish usually contains.


TIP #1: Do not skip the blanching process! It really helps provide a pure beefy flavour without any of the unwanted meat flavours or gaminess.

TIP #2: For a more tender Chinese beef brisket, try to let the instant pot release naturally from 15-30 minutes depending on how much time you have.

TIP #3: Slice the tendon after the pressure cooking process. Tendon is quite difficult to cut when raw.

chinese beef brisket double bowl with chopsticks
chinese beef brisket double bowl hero shot


STEP 1: Prepare beef brisket.

beef finger meat

Cut into small bite-sized pieces, keeping in mind that the pieces will shrink a bit more while in the Instant Pot.

chopped beef finger meat

STEP 2: Blanch beef brisket and tendons in hot water.

blanched beef finger meat

This is a mandatory step for any Asian cuisine, especially Chinese style cooking. The blanching process helps remove the impurities and any gaminess from the meat, which allows for a cleaner and more pure beefy flavour.

blanched beef finger meat and tendon with impurities

STEP 3: Drain water.

drained brisket and tendons

STEP 4: Put all ingredients in the Instant Pot.

chinese beef brisket in instant pot

Add enough braising liquid so that brisket and tendons are sufficiently covered. Pressure cook on high and allow for a natrual release.

adding coconut aminos to instant pot

STEP 5: Remove tendons from Instant Pot, chop them up, and mix back in.

chopped tendons



Feel free to add daikon to this Chinese beef brisket. You will need to add a little more liquid if you do so. Otherwise, no other modifications are required.


This recipe is ketovore friendly and does not require any modifications.


For strict carnivore (ie. elimination diet), omit the coconut aminos and five spice powder.

finished chinese beef brisket in a white casserole dish and blue bowl

For other Asian inspired recipes that are keto/carnivore, check out our Carnivore Egg Drop Soup.

For other brisket recipes, check out our instant pot brisket skewers and our slow cooker beef brisket recipe, which are both Carnivore friendly!



No, the Red Boat fish sauce made from pure anchovies and salt is used to provide the umami flavour to the dish and balances very well with the natural beefy flavours and coconut aminos.


Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze any leftovers for up to 2 months. To reheat, put back in the air fryer for 5-7 minutes.


You can slow braise on the stove top on low heat, in a dutch oven or large pot. Cook for 2-3 hours or until beef is tender and falls apart easily.

Chinese Beef Brisket Tendon Stew

Twist on the traditional Chinese beef brisket and tendon stew that is typically served at Cantonese dim sum restaurants or as a main dish at banquet style Chinese restaurants.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 people


  • 2.5 pounds beef brisket or beef finger meat
  • 2 pounds beef tendon
  • 2 pieces ginger
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 300 ml beef broth


  • Clean and chop beef brisket into 1-1.5" cubes.
  • Boil water in a large stockpot or wide pan with high sides, add brisket, tendon, and ginger slices. Boil on high heat for 5-6 minutes, allowing for all the impurities to be drawn from the meat.
  • Drain pot and clean off any remaining impurities from the meat with cold water.
  • Add brisket and tendon to the instant pot. Add fish sauce, coconut aminos, and beef broth. Ensure that meat is sufficiently covered with liquid to prevent burning; add more beef broth or water if needed.
  • Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. If time permits, allow for a 15 minute natural release for a more tender outcome.
  • Remove tendon from the pot and chop into 1-1.5" cubes. Place chopped tendon back into the Instant Pot and mix everything well.


Keyword chinese beef brisket

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Hi! Nice to meet you! We're Alice and Kevin. Together, we’ve experienced a life transformation with a ketogenic and carnivore diet, and our goal is to inspire others to do the same with simple and delicious recipes.

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