Tuesday 28 May 2013

Red-Braised Beef with Noodles

Well... They were supposed to be hand-rolled noodles. You see, I went to Mama Wang's supperclub at The Dead Dolls Club and I was totally taken by their biang biang noodles, served with cumin-braised lamb (photo below). The noodles were chewy and rough around the edges, made by rolling long sausages of dough and slapped on a work surface to get a flat shape out of them. When I came to do some slapping of my own though, my heavy-handedness and eagerness to eat them shone through and they slapped straight out of my hands and into pieces. 

I improvised. In absence of a rolling pin, I rolled the dough out with a mezcal bottle, smirking at the indentations the bottle gave it. Still too thick and quickly losing patience, I eventually put the dough through a pasta machine to give it a more uniform thickness. Perhaps not entirely traditional, but it worked well enough and I was left with sheets of noodles, ready to cook. It wasn't until after I ate them that I remembered that I'd made noodles before, and a recipe much closer to the one I was trying to achieve was here.  

Still, the noodles made a damn fine change to rice, which I normally eat with this red-braised beef. Probably more suited to Winter climes, it's rich and comforting, spicy from the Sichuan chilli bean paste. Any cut of beef suited to slow cooking works here, though I find cuts like shin and ox cheek preferable to give some gelatin to the dish. Pork works perfectly well in place of the beef; a cut like belly would take it to ultimate decadence. 

Red-Braised Beef

Serves 4 with sides and rice / noodles

450gr beef for slow cooking, cut into bitesized pieces
20gr ginger, whole and skin still on, whacked with the side of a knife
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
2 tbsp chilli bean paste
1 tbsp yellow bean paste
1 star anise
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 spring onions, white only (reserve the green bits) 
500ml stock / water

Blanch the beef in boiling water then rinse and rinse the pot out. This is to get rid of the scum that clouds the broth. Place the beef in a claypot or a snug saucepan.

In a wok, heat up a little oil and stir fry the chilli bean paste with the ginger and garlic and the spring onion. Add the yellow bean paste, rice wine, then add the star anise and the stock / water. Bring to the boil and add to the beef. Put a lid on it and braise very slowly for 3 - 4 hours, until the beef is tender. Top up with a little water (or the stock if it didn't all fit) if it is looking dry. 

Serve garnished with the spring onion greens leftover, on rice or on noodles. 


Anonymous said...


do you just use the beef to add to the noodles or do you also include the sauce? One other question. How many would this serve? Thank you. Looks really nice.

Hollow Legs said...

Hi Anon

Yes, you would add the beef plus sauce to the noodles. The sauce will be quite loose as there's no thickener in there, which is good for noodles / rice to soak it up.

The Brussels Cook(er) said...

Ooh that looks absolutely yummy Lizzie - will make it tomorrow with my two packets of pork cheeks from the freezer!

Shu Han said...

Woah, effort. Good one.

Anonymous said...

It must be a scorcher. The reason I say that is that I made a Da pan Ji this week with 2 tablespoons of Chilli bean sauce and I was the only one in the household able to eat it. OK.....they're not Asian but neither are many of you readers I would bet. Have you ever tried Da Pan Ji?

Hollow Legs said...

Brussels - it would be great with them!

Shu - thanks!

Anon - really? It definitely was spicy but all 3 of my (British) housemates thought it fine. It is a dish designed to have a bit of, with other vegetable dishes. Fuschia Dunlop uses 2.5 tbsp, I seem to recall. What brand do you use?

Yes I have had Da Pan Ji at Silk Road in Camberwell, though never made it myself.

Anonymous said...

Hi again,

I bought it in Chengdu and here is their web site http://www.pxdb.com/English.asp

Could you tell me which brand you use? I will need to purchase some soon. What did you think of the Da Pan Ji?

Hollow Legs said...

Anon - Ah, I haven't come across that one before. I use this one, http://posharpstore.com/en-us/sichuan-gaofuji-pixian-broad-bean-paste-1lb-p1446.aspx which I buy at See Woo in Chinatown. It's quite salty especially when compared to brands like Lee Kum Kee, so I watch how much light soy / salt I add later on. I love Da Pan Ji! like having a big anise-y chicken facial steam. Do you have a recipe you could share with me please?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Dou ban brand info. Have you heard of the chef Danny Bowien? This is a recipee I found of his although he calls it 'Henan Chicken Stew': http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323968304578250242529683114.html?mod=wsj_article_exploremore_row3_3 I've seen somebody explain to him that: "Don't understand why the dish has to be linked up with the word 'Henan' which refers to the Province in China. The chicken is not from Henan and the cooking procedure is no where near the original preparation of the Henan Chicken. The dish should only be called Beer-Braised Chicken perhaps it is a bit bland and ordinary nevertheless it is still tasteful from my imagination." And indeed it seems to me very much like Da Pan Ji recipes I've seen elsewhere. I used soy sauce instead of Fish sauce. Just thought that would be more authentic. Of course, he doesn't mention to eat with noodles. Another one I've made is this one: http://littlefish-grace.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/big-plate-o-chicken.html And the last one I made was a combination of Bowien's and Jamie Oliver's: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/member-recipes/Big%20Plate%20Chicken%20%28Dapanji%29/4602 I used more potatoes than either as the one I had in Chengdu had a lot more veges than Bowien's in particular. I remember there were some pieces of garlick and ginger and onion in it along with a lot of scallions and peppers and carrots. Will you let us know if you try it out?

Hollow Legs said...

Thanks Anon! Will let you know for sure.

Anonymous said...

Just had dinner and made me hungry again!