Sunday, March 12, 2017

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (pressure cooker)

There's no secret that I love Asian food. My knowledge in Asian Cuisine is mostly in Chinese and Thai cooking but I am starting to explore Taiwanese and Vietnamese cooking. I love the use of vinegar and fresh ingredients. The combination of spices is new to me and so exciting.

When I took my first trip to Chelsea Market in NYC, I ate at this little pop up shop called Very Fresh Noodle. (They are still there so if you are in New York City, GO!)  I watched as they hand pulled noodles and served them in the most velvety broth I had ever seen. I didn't realize at the time that it was a bone broth based soup.

I tried several times, unsuccessfully, to recreate it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as rich as I was wanting. I went back to Very Fresh Noodle and took careful notes. I researched a million recipes and put together my own with the flavors I remembered and using the new techniques I've learned with my pressure cooker.  I did my third test and it was perfectttt. Savory and rich, but not too salt. Spicy but not overwhelmingly so.

Now, although this is a pressure cooker recipe, this is by no means a "quick" recipe. This is still very slow with many steps. The pressure cooker just speeds up the process for you. I cooked my broth for a total of 2 hours, which normally would have taken about 6 on a stove top to get the same taste. This is great to make on a lazy Sunday and the broth can be frozen and used for future meals.

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (pressure cooker)

Serves 4-6

For the Broth

  • 2 large beef marrow bones, 4-5" long
  • 1 lb beef on bone. I used beef neck bones but you can use other cuts that are more meaty
  • 1 onion, cut in 1/2
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons black bean paste
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 stick of cinnamon, about 2" (not too large) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn, whole
  • 1 1/2" piece of ginger, sliced
  • 3 green onion, cut to 3" pieces
  • 1/2 C soy sauce
  • 2 fresh red chilies, sliced length-wise
  • 1/3 C rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns
  • enough water to cover all of the bones and meat, about 10 C
  • bok choy, blanched 
  • fried chili garlic oil + vinegar (I use chinkiang) 
  • boiled egg, quail or chicken
  • cilantro, chopped rough
  • green onion, chopped 
  • fresh cooked noodles (use can cook in water or in the broth when it's finished)
Ok, get your sleeves rolled up because this is a long process.

Roast Bones - in a 325° oven, roast your beef marrow bones for 45 minutes on a pan lined with tin foil.

Boil Meat - while your bones are roasting, put your beef in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. This will remove any impurities as well as blood. (I use tongs to transfer this to the pressure cooker when it is time.)

Prepare Pressure Cooker - In your pressure cooker, add the following and stir:
black bean paste
tomato paste
green onion
soy sauce
dark soy
rice wine
black peppercorns
sichuan peppercorns
red chilies
a few cups of water 

Add your prepared meat - Add your roasted marrow bones to the bottom of your pressure cooker, then add your onion halves, and layer on top the meat that has been boiled. Add enough water just to cover the top of the bones and beef.

Cook - Lock your lid and cook on high/manual for 45 minutes. When your timer goes off, release pressure doing quick release. I put a towel over the release valve because it will spray a little water. 

Using your tongs, remove your beef and put it in a separate bowl. Separate the beef from the bone and put your bones back in the broth. You will use this meat at the end when serving. 

At this point, you can add a little more water, depending on how rich you want the broth. I added 4 additional cups.

Cook again - Lock your lid and cook on high/manual for an additional hour. When your timer goes off, release the pressure using quick release. Strain your broth into a separate bowl using a fine mesh strainer. I put mine back into the pressure cooker to keep hot for serving.

Remove Oil - Skim the top to remove excess fat or you can chill the broth and easily separate the fat if you are not eating right away. If chilled, the fat will solidify and it is easy to pick it up with a spoon. Here is a great video on some tips for removing fat from your broth:

Serve - In a large bowl, fill about half way with noodles. Ladle in enough broth to cover noodles. Top with Bok Choy, beef, boiled egg, cilantro, green onion, and your chili/vinegar mixture. 

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