Tuesday, November 09, 2010

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Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Star Anise on RecipeThis was another recipe from the Comfort Food section of The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. This recipe contained lots of Asian ingredients that are most likely only found in Asian food stores. Mark and I took a trip to the Uwajimaya in Bellevue last Friday to shop for ingredients. We found almost everything needed for the recipe. I'm not all that familiar with Asian ingredients which made it a little difficult to find some things. The only thing I had to leave out of the recipe was the Szechuan peppercorns which I wasn't able to find. There was also some confusion on the soy sauce. Who knew there were so many different varieties? This recipe called for dark and light soy sauce. All soy sauce looks dark to me so figured. I made a bad assumption that everyday soy sauce was dark soy sauce. I could only find one soy sauce labeled as "light" and figured the soy sauce I had already was dark. I didn't find out until later it was the other way around. I picked up a few other soy sauces for another recipe I'm making for next weekend so I now have 4 different kinds. For the Chinese rice wine, I bought a bottle of cheap sake.

I made some beef broth the night before to use in this recipe. I didn't have any bones on hand so I went to Fred Meyer and asked if they had any beef bone scraps I could have and they packaged some up for me. I think I paid around $2.50 for a package. So I get everything all done for the soup and I take my pictures and am just about to sit down and eat and I smack my head realizing I forgot to add the noodles. How could I forget the main ingredient? The recipe calls for "Asian noodles" which is pretty broad. There are so many different varieties. I asked Lorna what she recommended and she mentioned some noodles at Uwajimaya that come in a refrigerated green package and are labeled as vermicelli. The noodles aren't dried so they only take a couple of minutes to cook. So I had some noodles ready to add to the soup in a jiffy and took a few more pictures before we dug in.

The soup was rather spicy, I'm guessing it was from the chile black bean sauce. I even added an extra cup of water to make it a little less spicy but that apparently wasn't enough. There were plenty of leftovers and I added more water to the leftovers to turn down the heat which made it just right.

I normally don't post recipes from cookbooks but I was given permission to post this one since it's posted on the internet already. So enjoy!

3 whole star anise, or 1/2 tsp ground star anise
1 1/2 tsp whole Szechuan peppercorns
2 to 4 small fres red chilies, seeded
2 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
3 lbs bone-in beef shank or short rib
8 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
5 slices peeled fresh ginger, cut 1/4 inch thick
5 green onions, cut into 4-inch pieces
3/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 Tbsp Chinese chili black bean sauce
1/4 Cup Chinese rice wine
1 small piece Chinese rock sgar
1/3 Cup light soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
6 Cups low-sodium beef broth
2 Cups water
1 bunch or more baby bok choy
3/4 lb Asian noodles, cooked and drained
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Chinese chili oil, for garnish (optional)

1. In a cheesecloth, combine the star anise, peppercorns, and red chilies, and tie the bundle with a piece of string.

2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until it is smoking. Brown the beef on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions to the oil and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the five-spice powder, chili black bean sauce, rice wine, rock sugar, light and dark soy sauces, broth, and water, as well as the spices bundled in the cheesecloth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the meat is very tender and falling off of the bone.

3. Remove the meat from the pot and discard the bones. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Strain the broth and discard the cheesecloth bundle, ginger, green onions, and garlic.

4. Cook the bok choy directly in the hot broth for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. To serve, put a portion of the cooked noodles in each bowl and ladle the soup over the noodles. Add some of the beef and bok choy to the bowl, and garnish with a bit of cilantro and a dash of hot chili oil.

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