Buckwheat Noodles With Red-Braised Beef Recipe
A Chinese gluten-free dish from chef Fuchsia Dunlop. "For this recipe, you will need to make some red-braised beef in advance, or have some leftovers hanging around in the refrigerator or freezer. You can use pure buckwheat noodles if you wish (the only type that are gluten-free), but they tend to fall apart during cooking if they are not freshly made, so I tend to use wholewheat noodles with buckwheat, which are more elastic and which I buy in a wholefood shop or a Chinese supermarket. Vegetarians can make the same dish without the beef: just increase the quantities of celery and chili oil and cover the noodles in the serving bowl with some of their piping hot cooking water. A handful of crisp, fried peanuts or a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds makes a delicious addition to this vegetarian version."
Good ladleful of leftover red-braised beef (with or without the tofu “bamboo”) (see below)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp chicken stock (or noodle cooking water)
1 tbsp light or tamari soy sauce
2-3 tbsp chili oil with its sediment
7 oz. dried wholewheat noodles with buckwheat or pure buckwheat noodles (gluten-free)
1/4 tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper, or to taste
3 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens
Handful of finely chopped celery, including leaves (Chinese celery is best, if you can get it)
Red-Braised Beef With Tofu “Bamboo”
1 lb. stewing beef or boneless beef shin
2 tbsp cooking oil
2-1/2 tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste
1/2 oz. piece of ginger, unpeeled, crushed slightly
2 spring onions, white parts only, crushed slightly
1 star anise
1-1/2 tsp sweet fermented sauce
3 cups chicken stock, plus a little more, if needed
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 sticks of tofu “bamboo”
Step 1: Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Bring the leftover beef (see below) to a boil, then simmer gently to heat through. Reheat the stock, if using. Put the soy sauce and chili oil into a serving bowl.
Step 2: Cook the noodles, then shake dry in a colander, retaining some of the cooking water if you wish to use it instead of stock. Briefly rinse the noodles under the cold tap.
Step 3: Pour the stock or noodle-cooking water into your serving bowl. Add the noodles and top with the beef stew. Scatter with the Sichuan pepper, followed by the spring onions and celery. Mix well before eating.
Red-Braised Beef With Tofu “Bamboo”
Step 1: Cut the beef into 3/4″-1″chunks. Bring a panful of water to a boil, add the beef and return to a boil. When a froth has risen to the surface, tip the beef into a colander, drain and rinse.
Step 2: Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a medium flame. Add the chili bean paste and stir-fry until the oil is red and richly fragrant. Add the ginger, spring onions and star anise and continue to stir until you can smell them. Add the sweet fermented sauce and stir-fry for a few moments more before pouring in the stock.
Step 3: Place the beef and Shaoxing wine in a saucepan or a clay pot and pour over the contents of the wok. Bring to a boil, then partially cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of hours, until the meat is beautifully tender. When the beef has started its slow cooking, set the tofu to soak in hot water from the kettle.
Step 4: Shortly before you wish to serve the dish, drain the tofu and cut on the diagonal into 3/4″-1″ sections to complement the beef, discarding any pieces that remain hard. Add it to the stew and heat through (you may add a little more stock or hot water from the kettle if you need it), then serve.
See more recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop.
Reprinted with permission from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain of Rice (2013 W.W. Norton).