Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Soups are great.  They’re hard to mess up, because you can always add more water.  I don’t have to worry about them burning, because of the water.  They’re delicious and so easy to cook, because of the– just kidding.  But seriously, so easy, especially with a pressure cooker.  All of a sudden I can crank out a soup in under an hour.  I could go on and on.

Tonight I’ll be returning to Jen’s Quick and Easy Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup recipe.  I don’t use chili bean sauce, so here’s the adapted version.  Even without the sauce, it’s still good.

“Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup 

Serves 4

2 lbs beef chuck or any well-marbled piece of beef
1 T vegetable oil (I use olive oil because it’s all I have)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch chunk of ginger, chopped
2 star anise
2 scallion stalks, chopped
2 T chili bean sauce (or broad bean paste with chili / 辣豆瓣酱)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tomato, sliced
1/4 cup rice wine
1 tsp to 1/4 cup rock sugar (optional) brown sugar to taste
chili sauce (optional)
5 cups water (or enough to cover the beef)

Optional vegetables
blanched bok choy
napa cabbage
fresh cilantro as garnish  don’t like cilantro

Bring a pot of water to boil and briefly boil the beef chunks for about 5 minutes, or until a white foam forms at the top of the water. Drain dirty water, rinse beef shanks, and set aside.

1. In the pressure cooker over medium high heat, saute garlic, ginger, scallions, and star anise in vegetable oil until fragrant.

2. Add beef shank pieces and chili bean sauce and saute for a few minutes, until the beef is slightly browned.

3. Add soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add tomatoes, rice wine, and rock sugar.

5. Add water until everything is just covered.

6. Bring up to high pressure and cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Slowly release pressure and serve.”

Add bok-choy and Taiwanese noodles (I buy the fresh ones from Ranch 99 in the refrigerated section.  You boil them for 3 minutes, and it’s done!)

I hope if Jen ever sees this she isn’t offended by my extended quotation with strikethroughs.  I think you’re so cool Jen!  Anyway…


Chicken Soup

The problem with being an American-born Chinese person is that when it comes to sick people in the house and making chicken soup, I inevitably have to ask,

“Should I make Asian chicken soup or American chicken soup?”

Because Asian chicken soup has less ingredients and chopping involved, Asian it was.  Hoorah.

Also attempted a mochi cake using hazelnut milk and almond milk instead of regular milk!  I think the initial consistency was rather thick with just the hazelnut, so then I may have added too much almond milk to compensate.  The result was a rather unformed cake.  However, it is still tasty.  Verdict?  I would make that substitution again, as long as it is just mochi cake I’m dealing with.


Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

From Tiny Urban Kitchen

This is now a favorite for me to make!  It’s super easy.

Here’s what she has for her instructions

“3 1/2 pounds chicken bones, necks, backs, and/or pieces
9 cups water
1 cup Chinese rice wine or sake
6 slices of fresh ginger (lightly smashed)
Salt and pepper to taste”

Usually, you bring it to a boil and cook it for 1.5 hours.  I want to try it with a pressure cooker today.

This site says with a pressure cooker, you could reduce the time by 1/3 typically, so I’m guessing I probably could do this in about 30 minutes, which interestingly is about the same time Jen’s beef noodle soup recipe takes.  Alright, here we go!


OK we are eating yesterday’s leftovers tonight because the cornish hen FAILED to defrost overnight in the fridge.  Like what?  Yes.  I took it out and it was still hard.  What am I supposed to do with that?  I hate using the microwave to defrost because it always ends up that the meat accidentally gets cooked a little.  Gross.  At least I know our fridge is working!  Though it may need some recalibration, folks?


//edit again//

OK, I think I managed to defrost the hen enough in water so that I could chop it apart and put it into the soup.  We’ll see how it goes!

How do you defrost your chicken meat?  I dislike handling chicken meat, because I once got salmonella in college, and chicken was definitely suspect.  I still don’t handle it confidently.  How do you handle your chicken meat?

I’m just hoping the pressure cooker doesn’t explode.  They don’t make the exploding kind anymore, do they?