Yet another try- this time with a recipe from one of the Wei-Chuan cookbooks. This one serves six people. Start by heating a few tablespoons of peanut oil in a pot and stir frying:
- 3 green onions cut in 1" sections
- 3 slices of fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
When the mixture is aromatic- it should smell like a good Chinese restaurant- add the following, one at a time, stirring while adding:
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons bean paste (from a Chinese grocery)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons hot bean paste (Chinese or Korean)
- 3/4c soy sauce
- 2 lbs fat marbled beef, cut in 1-1/4" chunks
- 2 Tablespoons cooking wine or sherry
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 quarts water
- 2 star anise flowerlets
Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook for at least an hour, or two if necessary- the beef must be very tender and falling apart. The liquid should reduce to about 1-1/2 quarts (six cups).
You can do this in advance- the day before if you like. To serve, you'll need a pound of Chinese noodles and a pound of green vegetable. Gai Lan (sometimes called Chinese broccoli) is a good choice, but I used baby Bok Choy, which I quartered lengthwise.
Boil enough water to cook the noodles. Blanch the vegetables in this water for a minute, and then remove them and cook the noodles. Don't discard the cooking water- you'll need it.
To serve, place the following in each bowl:
- a dash of hot chili oil
- a little pepper
- a portion of the vegetable and the noodle
- a portion of meat and a cup of broth
- A cup of the water you cooked the vegetable and noodles in
Verdict: It's pretty good, but I think I can do better.