Surprise Dinner

25 04 2010

Since Alice is home for a job interview (good luck!), and because I haven’t cooked for a while, I decided that I would surprise Alice with a traditional Chinese dish: Spicy Braised Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵) (i.e., niu rou mian or NRM).

I bought the necessary ingredients at a Far Eastern grocery store and Kroger:

  • Beef shank
  • Chinese green vegetables (青菜)
  • Tomatoes
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Star anise (八角)
  • Spicy chili bean paste (豆瓣酱)
  • Rice wine
  • Noodles
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (Eww..I hate! ginger >.<)

    First, I cut the beef shank into cubes.  Then, I placed the beef shank into cold water heated until just boiling.  I strained the beef and rinsed it with cold water to prevent overcooking the meat.  I like to do this preparation step in order to remove some of the blood and impurities from the beef.

    Then, I first sautéed a little bit of ginger, sesame oil, and spicy chili bean paste.  After the mixture was hot I added the beef to pan-sear the meat temporarily. Because it’s a braised dish, one needs to sear the beef first and then cook it in liquid in a covered pot.   One of the secrets to good NRM is this braising process.  In a perfect NRM, the beef will be very tender, and chewy with minimal loss of flavor to the soup.  The braising process allows for all of these delicious things to happen just before you eat the first spoonful!

    Afterwards, I added a little bit of water and rice wine together to cover over the meat along with the star anise, garlic, and some sugar. Then, I let it boil for ~30 minutes.  I then chopped two tomatoes, and added those in, reducing heat down to simmer for about an hour.

    Meanwhile nearing the end of the hour, I boiled some water with a little bit of salt and heated up the vegetables.  In another pot, I boiled the noodles.

    When everything was ready, I ladled the broth with some meat into a bowl removing the ginger, garlic, and star anise.  Then I places some noodles on top.  I chopped some sour mustard greens and placed it on top of the noodles along with the boiled green vegetables.  As garnish, I added some cilantro and green onion.

    Braised Beef Noodle Soup

    The final product!

    Congratulations to Ching-san on signing with Cornell’s graduate program for financial mathematics! We wish you good luck in the future. Ganbatte!


    Hello world!

    10 02 2010

    My girlfriend and I decided to create this blog to document some of our culinary adventures as well as interesting daily anecdotes.  Our goals are to submit relatively regular posts in the hopes of entertaining and perhaps even educating you!  More to come later about our dinner trip to Fleurie.