Once a staple of Tibetan cooking, yak meat is very similar to beef and many Tibetan families now use beef or cross-bred yak meat as a more cost-effective substitute for full-blood yak meat. You won’t find yak in Australia so beef or camel is a great alternative. In the high altitude of Yunnan and Tibet, these braised dishes can take nearly double the time to cook than they would at sea-level because of the low atmospheric pressure.  Destination Flavour China 






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (49 votes)

To speed up the process, many families in these regions use pressure cookers. 


  • 2 kg yak belly, beef belly, or beef short rib, cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 3 whole dried chillies
  • 5 black cardamom pods, or 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 thick slices ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp dried black cardamom leaves, or dried coriander leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75 g yak butter, or cultured cow’s milk butter
  • 1 daikon radish, peeled and cut into thick batons
  • 2 handfuls fresh mint

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Serves 6 as part of a shared meal

1. Place all the ingredients except the radish and mint into a heavy-based saucepan and add enough water to cover.

2. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add the daikon and simmer for another 45 minutes or until the meat and daikon are tender.

3. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if needed, then remove from the heat.

4. Scatter with the mint leaves and serve immediately.  


Photography by Adam Liaw.

Destination Flavour China with Adam Liaw airs 7.30pm, Wednesday on SBS and then on SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.