Pares, literally “pair”, means a combination of rice and protein, usually very tender stewed beef. Brisket, short ribs, flank or shanks are ideal for making beef pares.
Cook the beef / make the broth
Rinse the beef and wipe dry with a kitchen towel.
Heat a thick-bottomed pan and coat the the bottom with a tablespoon of cooking oil.
Brown the beef on all sides.
Pour in eight cups of water.
Add the onion, garlic, peppercorns, ginger, bay leaves and two tablespoons fish sauce.
Bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for about two hours or until the beef easily separates from the bones.
Scoop out the beef and set aside.
Strain the broth.
Reserve two cups of broth, pour the remaining broth into a clean pan and set over low heat. Taste and add more fish sauce, if needed. Keep the broth hot.
Make the sweet-salty sauce
Pour the reserved broth into a pan.
Add the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic and star anise.
Add the beef to the sauce and simmer, turning the beef over occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
Mix the starch with two tablespoons of water and a teaspoon of soy sauce.
Pour the starch solution into the pan with the beef, and stir until thickened and no longer cloudy.
Taste the sauce and add more soy sauce, sugar or both, depending on what your taste buds dictate.
Assemble your beef pares
Ladle cooked rice on plates or shallow bowls.
Arrange pieces of beef on top of the rice.
Drizzle sauce over the beef.
Garnish with fried garlic, fried shallots, scallions and cilantro.
Serve your beef pares with hot broth on the side.