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The secret to this Chinese version of beef stew, brought to us by Martha's friend Lily Mei, is to cook the meat three times. It's first boiled, then sauteed in a hot wok, and finally simmered until tender.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2000
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Cook's Notes

This traditional Hunan dish is flavored with star anise and cassia, a close relation to cinnamon that's available in Asian food stores.

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