I am told that niu rou mian, or Taiwanese beef noodle soup, is one of the most popular dishes in Taiwan. As with all such popular dishes, there are devotees out there who will probably scowl at this recipe and say 'thats not how you do it!' I've seen versions that cook the broth and the serving meat seperately, similar to the pho i made, and i can see benefits to both courses of action. In this case i've opted for simplicity. With it's spicy ginger and star anise it reminds me of a less refined, more hearty version of Vietnam's eponymous beef pho. My dad actually preferred the richness of this dish.
There is a school of thought out there that devotes possibly too much effort to the making of a clear broth. Unfortunately i am of that school! And whilst i'm yet to get to the obscenely clear broths of some of the experts out there, i can offer some handy hints to newbies on how to make their broth not cloudy:
- Always start with cold water and raise the temperature of the broth slowly
- Try not to bring a broth to the boil as this is rough on the proteins in your food and causes clouds
- Skim the surface of your broth regularly. You might think you can do this later but by that time the scum would have reintegrated back into the soup in tiny particles.
- When draining your stock, do so gently and do not press out the liquid, just let it sit
There are more methods incorporating freezing, egg whites and much more! I'll let you know when i try them.
- 1kg beef shin (osso bucco)
- 5 star anise
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 hand ginger
- 1 onion
- 4 tomatoes, quartered
- 3 scallions, whole
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
- 2 tbsp chili bean paste
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 packet chinese egg noodles
- 1 large bunch pad choy or similar asian green
- Extra scallions, and coriander to garnish
MethodBring a large pot of water to the boil
Add the meat, blanch for 1 minutes then drain water set beef aside.
In the large pot, add a touch of oil over high heat.
Add the onions and ginger and fry until slightly charred
Add the garlic, bean paste and beef and sautee for a further 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, star anise, soy sauce and 3 whole scallions, then cover with the beef stock and enough water to cover meat by about 2 inches
Simmer gently for 3-4 hours, skimming oil and scum from the surface of the water regularly, to maintain a clear soup.
Gently remove the beef from the soup and refrigerate; this will make it easier to slice.
Strain the soup carefully.
Finely slice the beef.
Cook the noodles as per packet instructions and place in serving bowls with the sliced pad choy and beef.
Ladel the broth into the bowls over the noodles and top with sliced scallions and coriander.
Serve with extra bean sauce available to adjust heat to each person's liking.