Unfortunately I wasn't able to get my hands on any tendon. I had decided on a whim to cook it on a Sunday, and I wasn't about to mission it to Chinatown to get some. In my neighbouring Peckham, there is a Chinese grocery that sold fresh ho fun (flat wide rice noodles) so with a packet of this, I set about recreating an old favourite. To up the vegetable content, slices of mooli were added. Mooli is also known as Chinese radish, or daikon. It has a slightly bland, turnip-like flavour but when you add it to meaty stews and soups, it takes on the flavour of the meat. The Japanese shred it and serve it raw in a little pile with sashimi, but I prefer it cooked.
Braised Beef Noodle Soup (Ngau Lam Ho Fun)
800gr braising beef
1 small mooli (also called daikon)
2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 star anise
5 slices of ginger
1 3" stick of Chinese cinnamon (cassia bark)
2 pieces of dried tangerine peel
Light soy sauce to taste
1 tbsp dark soy
4 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp black vinegar
4 stalks of spring onion, sliced
400gr fresh ho fun noodles
A handful of Chinese greens, or spinach
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Cut the beef into large chunks and when the water is boiling, blanch the beef. Remove the beef, throw the water away. Place the beef in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil, and then turn down to a simmer and add the Shaoxing rice wine.
Cut the shallots in half and add to a muslin bag. You don't have to use this, but I prefer not to have to fish spices out of my bowl. Bash the black peppercorns lightly and add these, along with all the other spices. Tie the bag and submerge with the beef. You may have to add a little more water. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Peel the mooli and cut into rounds. Add this to the beef mixture along with the vinegar and soy sauces. Braise until cooked, which usually takes 30 - 40 minutes.
To serve, add fresh ho fun noodles to a pot of simmering water and gently loosen with chopsticks. Drain and add to the serving bowl. Simmer some Chinese greens (I used choy sum) and add to the bowl, and then ladle the soup stock in along with the beef and some mooli. Scatter the spring onion on top.
Serve with a fiery chilli oil.