Instant Pot Soy Braised Beef Shank

This is a simplified (& speed up) version of a classic Chinese dish.
Shank is an economy cut of beef full of tendon, which contains large amount of collagen. It is super tough when quick-seared, but melts apart when slow cooked. Cooked down tendon adds richness and body to a stew, despite being surprisingly low fat and high protein. This budget cut is very flavorful when cooked with some patience. They usually take 90 minutes ~ 2 hours stove top, but a pressure cooker can get it done in ~35 minutes.


1/4 cup soy paste
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground numbing pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed ginger
1/4 tsp crushed garlic

2lb beef shank, lightly salted on all sides
4~6 cups water, add enough for braising liquid to cover the beef

add to braising liquid:
4 orange peels (about that of 1/4 medium orange)
3 bay leaves
2 whole hot chili peppers

*jarred crushed ginger and garlic are perfect here, easy no mess and will turn out just as good.
*you can find soy paste and szechuan pepper in any asian grocery; substitute soy paste with soy sauce and szechuan peppercorn with black pepper if you don't have any.
*you can substitute orange peel with orange zest and whole chili with chili powder if you don't have any. feel free to adjust orange and bay leaves to taste.


Whisk the brown sugar with soy paste and rest of the marinade spices until you have a well combined, uniform paste. Then thin it out with the soy sauce. Whisk until you get a really smooth marinade. If you directly add powders to a lot of liquid, they tend to just float on top; start with less liquid when making marinade.

Lightly sprinkle with fine salt on all sides and rub salt into the meat. Don't over salt it too much,  unlike a seared steak all the salt will stay in the braising liquid. Stay under a tsp of salt per lb of beef.

Spread the meat evenly in your pressure cooker. Add the marinade; then add water until the liquid just covers the meat. Add orange peels, bay leaf, and whole chili pepper. Cover & cook on high pressure.

These should take about 35 minute on high pressure in an instant pot for a more traditional texture (that is, tendon would be soft with a little bit of a chew). If you prefer the more tender, fall apart texture, add 10 more minutes to the pressure cooker.

Once pressure cooker is done and pressure is released, fetch your braised shank and slice it up. you can slice it into thick chunks if serving hot right away over rice or hot noodle soup.

Let the leftover chill in broth. You can slice the chilled meat really thin, into almost deli-like slices.
Serve those on top of a salad, or chopped cucumber and parsley/cilatro. Another restaurant-favorite is heat up the thinly sliced beef and roll them in a scallion pancake with some hoisin sauce and fresh scallions. Stuff the pancakes with some veggies if you like. Experiment and find your favorite!

Video Instruction: 

Tools & Ingredients Links:

Instant Pot Mini (3 Qt size, used in video):
Instant Pot 6Qt:
Heavy duty mini whisks:
Chinese soy paste:
Korean soy paste: