Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup

Here is one of the most popular street dishes in China, the Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup, or 川味红烧牛肉面. A bowl of chewy pulled noodle, covered in a warm, savory, spicy, and mouth-numbing beef soup, with tender braised beef that melts in your mouth. You can find them in a noodle shop on the street, or on the table of fancy restaurant; your mom or grandma would let it simmer all night so you can have a hot bowl of noodle and broth on a cold winter morning, or you can enjoying it with a cold bottle of Snow beer (a very cheap Chinese beer) on a hot summer night after watching a football match.

Though beef is not commonly eaten in China, however, braised beef is a classic dish in Sichuanese cuisine. The water buffalo indigenous to this mouthiness region has tough muscles that not suitable for stir fry, thus the only way to cook it is to either thinly slice the meat, or braise it slowly in flavorful stew.  This dish usually uses the shank of beef for it’s lean muscle and tendon, but we will use chuck roast instead.

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You’ll Need:

  • 500 g or 1.1 lb beef chuck (choose fattier cuts)
  • 100 ml or 1/2 cup cooking rice wine
  • 10 g or 1/3 oz tomato paste
  • 10 g or 1/3 oz dark soy sauce
  • 15 g or 1/2 oz doubanjiang/chinese chili bean sauce
  • 15 g or 1/2 oz hoisin sauce
  • 5 g or 1/6 oz sichuan peppercorn
  • 5 g or 1/6 oz coriander seed
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 dried chili

How to make this:

  1. Cut the beef chuck into 2 cm (1 inch) cubes, then, place the meat in 0.7 liter (3 cups) of cold water with cooking wine over medium heat, bring it to a boil, skim off the surface foam, and rinse the meat clean. Save the hot water for later use.
  2. In a stew pot, add some oil over medium-high heat, when the oil start smoking, add in the Sicilian peppercorn, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, bay leave, coriander seed and dried chili, stir the spices until the oil become aromatic. Spoon out the spices and tie them into a muslin cloth, then add the garlic and spring onion into the same pot, lightly fry them in the oil.
  3. Add the sugar into the oil, let it brown lightly, then add the blanched beef into the pot/pan. Searing all sides of the beef, then add the dark soy sauce, Doubanjiang, Hoisin Sauce and tomato paste, stir until the beef is covered by the sauce and turn dark brown,
  4. Add the still warm beef broth into the pot with the lightly fried spice bag, bring it to a boil, cover with lid, then lower the heat to low, and let it simmer for 90 min (at least).
  5. Pick out the spice bag, raise the heat to high and condense to stew (for about 3 min) slightly for a thicker stew. Sever the stew over some lamian/pulled noodle, and sprinkle on some chopped green onion and coriander, with a splash of hot chili oil,

*The reason this recipe does’t have any salt is because all the Doubanjiang and Hoisin sauce are very salty, so don’t add any salt.

*If you can’t find the ingredients,  sichuan peppercorn, dark soy sauce, doubanjiang and oisin Sauce  can be find in most Chinese/Asian market, coriander seed, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, cloves is basically five spice.

*My grandma like to replace the tomato paste with ketchup for a sweeter/more acidic taste.

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Wonton Noodle Soup/雲吞麵

One of my must-haves every time I visit Hong Kong is the wonton noodle soup or 港式雲吞麵, you can find wonton stands everywhere and a bowl can be as cheap as 30 HKD (about 3 USD) with 7 juicy & tender shrimp wonton, chewy egg noodles and flavorful, warm seafood broth. A dish like this is perfect for dinner on a cold winter night, or if you prefer, a hearty breakfast in the morning.

For this recipe, you can “mass produce” the wontons and keep them in your freezer, they’ll last about 3 months. Although this recipe doesn’t include the recipes for the noodle and soup, you can basically use any noodle-soup combination you want.

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For 50 Wontons, You’ll Need:

  • 225g or 1/2 lb 80% lean ground pork
  • 550g or 1 lb peeled & deveined shrimp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp bonito flakes (the original recipe calls for Chinese dried fish powder, which is 50% MSG)
  • 1 tsp cooking rice wine/Japanese mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp starch
  • 1 tsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 50 square wonton wrappers

How to make this:

  1. Purée half (225g) of the shrimp using a food processor, you can mince the shrimp with a knife too, but it’s just too much work. Cut the rest of the shrimp into 3 equal pieces.
  2. Thoroughly the puréed shrimp, cut shrimp chunks and minced pork together, add the egg, bonito flakes, cooking rice wine/Japanese mirin, soy sauce, starch, chopped chives, salt, and ground pepper. Stop stirring when the mixture turns into a pink, consistent, smooth paste.
  3. Place about a teaspoon of the paste in the center of the wrapper, wet the edge and fold it diagonally. Then wet the 2 tips and press them together, repeat until you used up all the wrappers or fillings.6262A7B9-6EFC-41B6-8011-CF9C7AE0FC91
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then carefully drop the wontons in the boiling water. The uncooked wonton would sink to the bottom of the pot, and a good indication of the wontons are cooked is when they flow to the top of the water (the same rule apply for both fresh & frozen wonton).
  5. Serve the wontons with some blanched greens, noodle, and soup. Enjoy!

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Chinese Braised Pork Belly

The Chinese Braised Pork Belly or “红烧肉” is one of my favorite dishes when I was growing up, whenever my mom makes it during the weekends, there would be no leftovers. This recipe is very different from almost any recipes you will find because it’s my grandma’s and her grandma’s, it only has 6 ingredients and super easy to make, however, it takes a while to cook, so without further adieu, let’s make this! This recipe serves 2-3.

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You’ll need:

  • 2 lb pork belly (with all the lovely fat on)
  • 2 oz turbinado sugar
  •  1 1/2 cup Chinese rice wine (use a lager if you don’t have rice wine)
  • 2 green/spring onion
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 1 star anise

How to make this:

  1. In a large heavy-duty pot, heat over medium and melt the sugar until they turn slightly brown or barely caramelized
  2. Cut the pork belly into 1 1/2 inch cubes, then lower the heat to medium, sear each side for about 6 min or until most of the fat has come out
  3. Pour in the rice wine, add the green/spring onion, ginger, and star anise, bring it to a simmer and cook it for about 1 hour over medium-low heat
  4. Serve it with rice, vegetables or boiled egg

Broccoli & Beef Stir Fry

Even though this dish is considered to be one of the “American-Chinese Food” dishes, I actually had this dish very often when I was growing up in China, it’s just one of those great combinations of flavors, and it’s quick and easy! This recipe serves about 2

You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 lb beef
  • 1 lb broccoli
  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 thin slice of fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

How To Make This:

  1. Cut the beef into 1/8-inch thick strips, marinated the beef strips in the sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch for about 30 min to 1 hour
  2. Rinse the broccoli and cut into florets, blanch them in boiling water for about 1min, strain and rinse with cold water to cool
  3. Heat up a pan or wok with vegetable oil over medium-high heat, lightly fry the garlic and ginger, then add the beef strips and stir-fry for about 2 min, then add the blanched broccoli & oyster sauce, cook for another 2 min
  4. Sprinkle on some roasted sesame seed, serve it with some rice

Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice Bowl)

There use to be a little Taiwanese cafe next to my old middle school, so instead of eating the disgusting food at the school cafetiria, my friend and I would sneak out and eat there, and we would order Lu Rou Fan (卤肉饭) every time, because it was fast, cheap, and absolutely delicious. The cook there would start cooking this huge pot of meat at around 7 in the morning, and by lunchtime, the pork is slow-cooked to perfection, with a thick, sticky sauce, and for a group of 12 years old, meat and rice was all we needed. This dish is super easy to make and has a really short prep time, you can start it in the morning before you leave and come back and eat it for dinner. Even though it is traditionally eaten with rice, you can put then in a steamed bun (or bao) to make a “Chinese sloppy Joe”, wrap them in a tortilla with some rice to make a “Chinese burrito”, or bake it in some puff pastry and turn it into a “Chinese meat pie”, the possibility is endless, just use your imagination! This recipe serves about 3 people.

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You’ll need: 1 lb skin-on pork belly (if you can’t find them, shoulder meat also works); 2 teaspoons oil; 2 sugar; 2 shallots; 1/4 cup rice wine (Shaoxing wine preferred, but any rice wine works); 1 tbsp Chinese five spice; 5 tbsp soy sauce; 2 cups water; 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

How to make this:

  1. Cut the pork belly into 1/2 inch thick cubes, with the skin and fat on. Cut the shallot into thin slices, then fry them in a heavy deep pan or pot with oil until they turn golden
  2. Once the shallots are golden, turn up the heat to high and add the pork cubes to the same pan, you don’t need to add any extra oil since more fat will be cooked out of the pork while you are browning them
  3. After the pork are slightly browned, stir in the Chinese five spice and slightly toast them a little with just the meat and fried shallot, it should only take about 30sec to 1 min but will improve the aroma of the dish
  4. Pour in the rice wine, soy sauce, and water, place the peeled hard boiled egg in the pan with the sauce and meat, stay on high heat to bring it to a simmer, then cover and let it cook on medium-low for at least 1 hour (or up to 8 hours, turn the heat to low if cook over 3 hours and add 1/4 cup of water for every extra hour)
  5. While meat is being cooked, make some rice, 2 cups of rice (with 1.2 times water) would feed about 3 – 4 people
  6. Serve the braised pork on top of some rice with the egg and any greens, you can also sprinkle on some chopped green onion or pickled greens

Momo

First recipe of 2017! This delicious Nepali dumpling is a fun and easy recipe that you can make with your friends or families.

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You need:

  • 1 lb ground or minced lamb
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • 3 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30 round dumpling wrappers (about 3 inches wide, you can make them fresh, but I have found a good recipe yet)

How to make this:

  1. Mix the minced lamb, onion, cilantro, ginger, oil, garlic, turmeric, salt, you can use any meat you want, chicken, pork, beef, just not anything that’s too lean, a little fat makes it tender and juicy.
  2. If you want to make it vegetarian, substitute the meat with crimini mushrooms with 1.3x the weight, mince them, then squeeze the water out with a cheesecloth
  3. Place about a generous tsp of fillings in the wrap, then “glue” the edge with some water, you can just squeeze form them, or do some different designs
  4. Steam the dumpling over boiling water for about 20 min, you can also boiling it in hot, salted water for 3 min
  5. If you made too much, you can keep them in the freeze (uncooked) for up to 2 month

 

Char Siu/Chinese BBQ Pork

If you want to talk about Cantonese food, nothing is more iconic and popular than Char Siu (“叉烧”), a juicy piece of pork shoulder or loin, roasted in a brick oven, brushed with layers of thick, sweet sauces. This dish is perfect by itself and is also used as fillings for dim sums, or as a side dish for fried rice or noodles.

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You need:

  • 1 1/2 lb Pork Shoulder
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1/3 cup Malt or Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Chinese Rice Wine
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Fermented Bean Curd (Optional)

How to make this:

  1. Mince the garlic, then mix the soy sauce, honey,  Sugar, rice wine, hoisin sauce, Chinese five spice powder, red fermented bean curd (optional, just to add the signature red color to the meat, also helps to tenderize it a little bit) in a saucepan, the heat it up on medium while stirring constantly
  2. Place the meat in a bag or container and pour in the sauce, let the meat marinate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight
  3. Heat up an outdoor grill to about medium, or an oven to 175C or 350F degrees, place the meat on a baking tray and bake it in the oven for about 1 hour
  4. While the meat is being roasted, heat up a pan on medium, heat up the sauce until it thickens (Like a syrup, takes about 5 min), them brush a layer of sauce on the meat every 10 min
  5. The meat is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 70C or 160F degrees, then let the meat rest for at least 30 min
  6. Serve it by itself in slices, or chop them into small cubes and wrap them in some steam bun or puff pastry, or add them to some fried rice or noodle