Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taiwan Honors Chef Hou's Beef Noodle Soup

Created in Taiwan, the beef noodle soup (new row mian) is a popular street food on the island.  

 The Asia Society honored Chef Hou Chun-sheng at an event hosted by Ambassador Jason Yuan's residence at the historic Twin Oaks Estate.

Ambassador Jason's chef started us off with some crispy spring rolls followed by minced beef and chili peppers. 

This is Chef Hou Chun-sheng winning recipe at the 2011 Taipei International Beef Noodle Soup Festival
Chef Hou answered questions about his dish.
David Wu stopped in to say hello with his son.
I provided a few comments about the aromatic and comforting soup.
We were treated to a delightful dessert.
Beef Noodle Soup
The recipe has been modified to serve 10 large bowls.  As in many Taiwanese food recipes, the measurement of the ingredients varies, depending on your experience and personal taste. In addition, the special herbs are not easy to find outside Chinatowns.


2.25 lbs boneless beef shanks
2.25 lbs beef bones, pieces
4 tbsp vegetable oil for sauteing
6 green onions, 4 roughly chopped into 3” for stock and sauce, 2 stalks finely sliced for topping
12-14 garlic cloves, smashed
2 inches ginger, sliced (not too think or thick)
1 red hot chili peppers, halved
1 tbsp rock sugar (about 1 oz)
¾ cup hot bean paste (or around 4 oz)
1 cup soy sauce, preferably Kimlan
½ cup spicy fermented bean curd (or around 5 oz)
¼ cup tomato paste (just under 2 oz)
1 tbsp black peppercorn (around 1 oz)
2 Bay leaves, large (depending on size)
4 ½ tbsp soy paste, preferably Kimlan (around 2 oz)
2 ½ tbsp dark soy sauce, preferably Lee Kum Kee (around 1.3 oz)
1 head of Romaine lettuce, chopped into 1” slices (roughly 1 lbs)
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and chopped into .25” cube
¼ cup cilantro, (optional topping)
2 Chinese herb bags: contains one part (.8 gram each) of Star Anise (pa-chiao), Fennel (huei-hsiang), Angelica roots (tang-kuei), and dried orange peel (cheng-pi); as well as three parts (2.5 grams each) of Pericarpium Zanthoxyli (hua-chiao), Cassia buds (kuei-tze), Cinnamon peel/bark (kuei-pi), and Cinnamon stick (kuei-chi). (The Chinese herbal shop uses a measurement system that does not have an English equivalent, however we converted it to the metric system to give you a better idea of the quantities involved.)
Fresh noodle, depending on your preference and what’s available locally
Preparing the broth
1) Boil about 1 gallons of water and beef bones and filter out impurities.
2) Heat half of the oil and saute half of the green onions, ginger, garlic and red hot chilly peppers until you get a nice fragrant smell. Add half of the rock sugar, hot bean paste, soy sauce to the vegetables and cook slightly before combining it to the beef bone broth.
3) Then add half the fermented bean curd and all the tomato paste.
4) Lastly, include half of the the black peppercorn, bay leaves and one Chinese seasoning bag to the broth.
5) Simmer for 6 hours. If you are not using a mesh herb bag, be sure to put the broth through a sieve.
Preparing the beef shank
1) Cook the beef shank with just enough water to cover the meat, boil the meat until it’s cooked through. Let it cool and then sliced into oval disks, about one-third inch thick. Save the beef water for later.
2) Sauté the remaining green onions, ginger, garlic and red hot chili peppers in vegetable oil until it’s fragrant. Add the remaining rock sugar, hot bean paste and soy sauce, cook briefly.
3) Add the remaining fermented bean curd, and all the soy paste and dark soy sauce, before adding the rest of the black peppercorn, bay leaf and Chinese herb packet.
4) Place the sliced beef shanks into the sauce and add just enough beef water to cover the beef slices. Stir to ensure even mixing. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. If you like your meat more tender, you can cook for longer. Keep the pot covered while it’s cooling down. Take the slices out and strain the remaining liquid if you want a smoother sauce.
Preparing the noodle and assembling the dish
1) Boil the water, add the noodle and cook until done. Drain.
2) Remove the skin from the tomatoes, and chop them into ¼ inch cubes. (You can peel tomatoes easily by dropping it into boiling water for a few seconds. The skin will separate from the flesh. Take it out and dip into cold water)
3) Chop the Romaine lettuce into 1 inch shreds. Then flash cook the lettuce in boiling water. Drain.
4) Put noodles into the bowl, top with beef shanks, lettuce, tomatoes, and spoon 4/5 beef broth, 1/5 beef sauce. Top with chopped green onions and cilantro. Enjoy.

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