Mama Chen’s Taiwanese Braised Minced Meat

50 minutesServes 4
Taiwanese Recipe


  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ c chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 lb ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, turkey, or chicken)
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cooking wine (Shaoxing, sherry, or red)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 green onions, sliced


In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ginger and sauté until fragrant and lightly brown, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, 4-5 minutes. Add the five spice powder, white pepper, cinnamon, star anise and soy sauce and stir well to incorporate, cooking for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for another minute. Add just enough water to cover the meat, bring it to a simmer and turn the heat down to medium low. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until liquid is slightly reduced and meat is very tender.

In a small bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch by adding a few tablespoons of water and stirring well until dissolved. Add to the meat sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and add green onions.

Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

Chef’s Note: This dish can be eaten on rice or noodles alone, but it is also commonly served with accompaniments such as soy-marinated eggs, sautéed spinach or bok choy, pickled mustard greens, or quick pickled cucumbers.