Cinnamon Beef Noodles

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This is the dish I crave when I am feeling a cold or the flu coming on—a big bowl of noodles topped with spinach and tender pieces of beef infused with garlic, ginger, anise, and cinnamon. The flavor gets better and better every time you reheat it.

1 teaspoon safflower or corn oil

Chile-Cinnamon Seasonings
6 scallions, trimmed, cut into 1 ½ inch sections, and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smash lightly with the flat side of a cleaver, and thinly sliced
4 slices fresh ginger (about the size of a quarter(, smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife
1 ½ teaspoons hot chile paste
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon aniseed

8 ½ cups water
½ cup soy sauce
2 pounds chuck or beef stew meat, trimmed of fat and gristle, and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
10-ounces spinach, trimmed, rinsed, and drained
½ pound flat Chinese wheat-flour noodles, udon, or other flat noodles, such as fettuccine, cooked until just tender, rinsed under warm water, and drained
3 tablespoons minced scallions

1. Heat a large pot or casserole over medium high heat. Add the oil and heat until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the chile-cinnamon seasonings and stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the water and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Add the beef and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 ½ hours, or until the beef is very tender. Skim the surface to remove any impurities or fat. Remove the ginger slices and cinnamon sticks and discard. Add the spinach and bring to a boil.
2. Divide the noodles among six soup bowls. Ladle the meat, spinach, and broth over the noodles and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve.

6 Servings

Nina Simonds © 2011

 

Spunky Stir-fried Ramen
Walk around any city or town in Japan and you will see some version of this dish. When I’m rushed, which is most of the time, I use the instant “ramen,” discarding the flavor package, dipping the noodles in boiling water, and tossing them quickly in the sauce.
1 pound boneless center-cut pork loin, fat trimmed and cut into thin julienne strips

Marinade Mix together:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons minced gingerroot
1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 ½ tablespoons safflower or corn oil
2 cups sliced onions, cut into thin julienne shreds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
4 cups sliced Chinese Napa cabbage, stem section trimmed, slices laid flat and cut lengthwise in half, then into thin julienne shreds, leaf and stem sections separated
1 cup grated carrots
1 ½ tablespoons rice wine or sake

Sauce Mix together:
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

¾ pound fine dried Japanese ramen, Chinese egg noodles, or angel hair pasta, cooked until just tender, rinsed, and drained

1. In a bowl, mix the meat with the marinade, toss lightly, and let marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat a wok or a skillet, add 3 tablespoons of oil, and heat until near smoking. Add the pork, stir-fry until the shreds separate and change color, remove, and drain. Wipe out the pan and reheat.
3. Add the remaining oil and heat over high heat until hot. Add the onions and crushed pepper, and stir-fry about 1 minute. Add the cabbage shreds. Toss lightly for 1 minute and add the carrots and rice wine. Cook for another minute and add the sauce. Heat until boiling. Add the cooked pork and the noodles, and toss lightly to blend. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

6 Servings

Nina Simonds © 2011

 

Shrimp and Pea Shoot Soup



This is the quintessential Chinese soup—an extra-light, fresh, and refined broth, brimming with barely poached seafood. Pea shoots are the delicate leafy tendrils of snow pea vines. They’re sold in Asian markets and specialty food shops. If pea shoots aren’t available, substitute snow peas or snap peas.
5 ½ ounces somen or other very thin noodles, such as angel hair, cooked until just tender, rinsed under warm water, and drained
2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, scored down the back, deveined, and rinsed
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon safflower or corn oil
1 tablespoon minced scallions (white part only)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ pound pea shoots, touch stems removed, wilted leaves discarded, and cut into 2-inch lengths
¼ cup Chinese rice wine or sake
5 ½ cups Chinese Chicken Broth
1 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste

Chinese Chicken Broth
3 ½ pounds chicken bones, necks, backs, and/or pieces
9 cups water
1 cup Chinese rice wine or sake
6 slices fresh ginger (about the size of a quarter), lightly smashed with the flat side of a knife
1. Divide the noodles equally among six soup bowls.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp with the rice wine and ginger, tossing lightly to coat.
3. To make the broth, combine the chicken bones, water, rice wine, and ginger in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours, skimming the surface to remove any foam or impurities. Strain through a fine strainer and remove fat. Measure out 5 ½ cups.
3. Heat a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the scallions and garlic and stir-fry for 15 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the pea shoots and rice wine, turn up the heat to high, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the broth and salt and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and simmer for about 1 ½ minutes, until they turn pink, skimming the broth to remove any foam or impurities. Taste for seasoning, ladle the soup over the noodles, and serve.

6 Servings
Nina Simonds © 2011

 

Nutty Soba Noodle Pot  with Chicken and Scallions

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ¼ pounds)
3 tablespoons rice wine or sake
½ pound soba noodles
1½ teaspoons olive or canola oil
8 whole scallions, trimmed, and chopped (about 1 cup)
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
8 cups chicken stock, preferably low-sodium
3 tablespoons soy sauce
7-8 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1. Using a sharp knife, separate the two breasts. Cut the chicken crosswise into thin slices about 1/4-inch thick. Place the chicken in a bowl, add the rice wine, toss lightly to coat, and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 3 ½ minutes until al dente or nearly tender. Drain and rinse under warm, running water. Divide the noodles evenly among 6 soup bowls.
3. Heat the oil in a casserole or Dutch oven until hot. Add the chopped scallions and garlic and stir-fry over high heat until fragrant, about 20 seconds.  Add the chicken stock and soy sauce and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the chicken slices and cook for 5 or 6 minutes, or until almost cooked completely, skimming any foam or scum from the surface. Stir in the sesame oil and the spinach leaves, cover the pot and cook for about a minute, until the leaves are just wilted. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce if necessary.
4. Ladle the chicken, spinach, and hot broth over the noodles, and serve immediately.

6 Servings

Nina Simonds © 2011

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.

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