Beef Noodle Soup + Sushi!

8 05 2010

This past week, Chris and I made beef noodle soup (牛肉麵 aka NRM) again.

We still had Chinese green veggies, tomatoes, noodles, mustard greens, and star anise from last time, so all we had to buy was beef shank. We went to Harris Teeter again and bought the much-needed beef shank for our NRM.

At home, Chris first cut the beef shank into cubes.  Then, I placed the beef shank into cold water heated until just boiling.  Chris strained the beef and rinsed it with cold water.

Then, Chris first sautéed a little bit of ginger, sesame oil, and spicy chili bean paste.  After the mixture was hot, he added the beef to pan-sear the meat. Afterwards, Chris added a little bit of water and rice wine together to cover over the meat along with the star anise, garlic, and some sugar. He let it boil for ~30 minutes. He added chopped tomatoes in, reducing heat down to simmer for about an hour.

Meanwhile, I boiled some water for the noodles in the rice cooker.

When everything was ready, Chris ladled the NRM soup and veggies and then added some noodles on top. He added some chopped mustard greens and placed it on top of the noodles along with the boiled green vegetables. Chris added some cilantro and green onion as a garnish at the end.

The NRM was very successful; in fact, several of our hallmates came to the room, commenting on the overwhelming smell that was wafting down the hall. So we ladled some soup and noodles for them as well. Overall, another successful NRM story :)

NRM Finished product

Beef Noodle Soup!

I almost forgot to mention! Chris and I also made sushi the other day! We bought a large cucumber, avocados, and surimi. Ching-san gave Chris a bag of Japanese sushi rice (Premium Grade Rice Nishiki). So, we cleaned everything and then Chris chopped the cucumber into very thin, long slices and cut open one avocado and chopped them as well. He also cut the surimi.

Meanwhile, I prepared the sushi rice in the rice cooker and then Chris added rice vinegar to the sushi rice when it was all cooked and I mixed it up. After everything was chopped up and cooked, Chris spread the sushi rice onto a piece of cling wrap on top of the bamboo sushi mat we borrowed from Ching-san. He used a spoon to flatten the sushi rice and then placed pieces of avocado, cucumber, and surimi. Then, he rolled the sushi and cut them into California roll makizushi-style sushi (the most familiar kind to foreigners). Unfortunately, we forgot to buy nori (seaweed), but it’s okay because the sushi was really delicious and tasted exactly like California roll sushi!

Chopping sushi ingredients

Chopping the avocado for the sushi

Rolling the sushi

Bon appetit!

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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!