Chinese style spicy tendon [麻辣牛筋]

Ok, this may be a little “out there” for some of you, but for that small group of you that likes tendon, this is for you! For me, the tendon is always one of my favorite parts of eating pho! It may take some getting used to, but once you like it.. oh you like it! This is a classic Chinese dish with a spicy kick. Hey, it’s never too late to broaden your palate.

Difficulty: Intermediate


– 3 pieces of beef tendon (picked up at any butcher shop- mine are from Ranch 99)
– 3 slices of ginger (quarter sized)
– 2 green onion stalks
– 2 tbsp cooking wine
– 6 cups water
– 3 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 anise star, ba jiao (八角)
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil, for cooking

Additional ingredients for the spicy sauce

– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 tbsp sesame oil
– 2 tbsp vinegar
– 1 -2 tbsp hot sauce (1 for mild, 2 if you want hot)
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 2 tbsp diced green onion
– 1/2 cup reserved broth


1. Clean the meat: Add water to a pot (large enough to hold the 3 pieces of tendon) and heat to boil. Add the tendon and boil for about 2-4 minutes to clean. Take tendon out and rinse in cold water.

2. Add 1 tbsp cooking oil to a large wok or pot on med-high heat. Add the ginger and green onions and saute for about 1 min to flavor the oil.

3. Add the cooking wine, soy sauce, tendon, 6 cups of water, the anise star/ ba jiao, cover and simmer on low heat for 2 hours.

4. After 2 hours, check the tendon. It should be tender enough for chopsticks to easily poke through the tendon. If not, cook longer until it is tender. Once tender, take the tendon out and let cool on a cutting board. Reserve 1/2 cup of the broth for the sauce.

5. Now it is time to make the sauce. In the pan previously used, add the 1/2 cup reserved broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, green onion, and hot sauce. I like to heat it up just a little bit so things mix up.

6. Take the cooled tendon and slice lengthwise to remove the fat and extract the tendon. Dice the tendon into 1 inch pieces.

7. Add the diced tendon back into the pot with the sauce mixture and mix thoroughly.

8. Decorate the surrounding edge of the serving plate with vegetables. I’ve used bok choy in this recipe. See recipe here on how to stir fry bok choy.

9. Serve and enjoy!





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