Today was the first day I have ever had to use an ice scraper to chip the nice sheen of ice that had encased my entire car overnight. Quite the right of passage for a west coast boy.
With the cold weather inevitably come colds, flu, URIs. Although medical science would say that there is no cure for the common cold, if you grew up in my household, you would beg to differ.
I was a fairly sickly kid growing up. I had my share of upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, asthma. I’ve choked down Chinese traditional medicine concoctions, copious quantities of orange juice and grapefruit juice, taken multiple Vitamin C and Zinc tablets. Every family has some cocktail of juices, pills, foods, soups, and medicine that they swear by. For me, I must have my beef noodle soup, and that sentiment is shared by many.
Spicy beef noodle soup has existed since the Tang Dynasty (618 to 906 AD) and was popularized by a Chinese Muslim ethnic group (who also made some bad ass hand-pulled noodles). Many Asians today still consider this dish prophylaxis against cold and flu. I can’t comment about the the actual research behind any of these claims, but believe it or not, there’s really no harm in treating yourself to a delicious and warm meal.
Hong Shao Niu Rou Mian (紅燒牛肉麵)
- Beef shank 2 lb, cut into chunks
- Oil 2 T
- Garlic 8 cloves, chopped
- Ginger 2 T, minced
- Star Anise 3
- Sichuan peppercorns 1 T
- Chili black bean sauce 2 T
- Dark soy sauce 4 T
- Light soy sauce 2 T
- Five spice powder 1 T
- Tomato 1 large, cut into segments
- Water 6 cups
- Bok choy 6, halved
- Green onion chopped
Begin by heating up a wok on high heat and season your chunks of beef with salt. In the meantime, add garlic, ginger, five spice, sichuan peppercorns, chili black bean sauce, dark and light soy sauce to a small bowl and mix well. Once the wok is hot, add oil and beef, making sure the beef is nicely seared. Add contents from the small bowl, tomato, and water. Add star anise. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and let simmer for at least 1.5-2 hours. The longer you simmer, the more tender the beef will be and the better the flavor. In the meantime, cook your noodles and bok choy in separate pots of water. Place noodles, bok choy, and desired beef in a bowl. Pour broth through a sieve over it. Garnish with green onions and enjoy.