niu rou mian - taiwanese beef noodle soup
We're up at 6 every morning, and we've gotten into a good routine too. Working out is always a pain, but it seems each time I slip on my running shoes I get a sense of strength, like feeling uplifted. And then I open the door and the heat touches my skin, and the air is slightly drab. But so far these few days have been great. The air is cool, slightly windy, birds happily chirping, and of course lots of honks.
The coolness in the air reminded me of being back in Boston during the fall. The weather is perfect, not too cold nor wet and perfect for a steaming bowl of soup. My soup of choice is always niu rou mian and the only place I go to is at Nashua NH. Their restaurant, Shanghai Osaka is a little confusing...but they do serve both Chinese and Japanese dishes. Their chef is from the Szechuan province and man can he cook...he makes the best general tso's hands down in all of the world. I wish they'd come to Yangon. ....I'm going to work on that.
My niu rou mian is inspired by theirs, though not as amazing, it still hits the spot.
niu rou mian
2 lbs beef shin cut into cubes (and tendons if desired)
2 dried orange peels
1 tablespoon cloves
2 knobs of ginger smashed
1 head of garlic cut into two
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon five spice
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup of thick dark soy
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tomatoes cut into quarters
1 carrots cut in half
Bring your meat to a boil to rid of blood and scum. Wash thoroughly and fill the pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Combine all spices from orange peels to cinnamon in a mesh bag or cheesecloth. Place it in the pot. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours nearly fully covered. When the meat is tender, remove and allow the soup to simmer for an hour longer with the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
To prepare, boil rice noodles to manufacturers description, cook the bok choy, and serve with hot soup, beef and garnishes.