Spicy, Anise-y Red-cooked Beef over Noodles
4 – 6 servings
- ½ cup peanut or veg oil
- 4 tbsp each minced ginger and garlic
- 2 cups roughly chopped yellow onions
- 8 thinly sliced green onions
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed in mortar or ground in a spice/coffee grinder
- 4 star anise
- 5 – 6 tsp Chinese hot chili paste
- 1½ pounds of bottom round or other lean stewing beef, cut into ½ to 1-inch cubes
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 cup beef broth (canned is fine) or a beef bouillon cube mixed with 1 cup water
- 4½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water (optional, if you prefer a thinner sauce)
- 1½ pounds of fresh Chinese egg noodles or 1 pound thin dried egg noodles (in a pinch, fettucine will do)
- Heat oil in cooking vessel on high and add ginger, garlic, and onions.
- Stir-fry for a minute and then add two-thirds of the green onions (set the rest aside for serving).
- After 10 seconds add the peppercorns and star anise, and after 10 more seconds stir in the pepper/chile paste.
- Stir-fry briskly for about 30 seconds and add the beef, frying till every piece is seared.
- Sprinkle sugar and soy over all and stir-fry two more minutes.
- Add broth (or bouillon cube and water), along with 2½ cups of water, stir well, and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to very low, cover, and simmer until the meat is falling-apart tender, about 2 hours.
- At this point, refrigerate or freeze and reheat, or proceed with the recipe (if you plan to freeze part of the recipe, remove it from the pan now, before adding cornstarch).
- Cook noodles in boiling water and divide into big bowls.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and stir in the cornstarch, a tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is as thick as you'd like (it will thin a bit once it's on the noodles, especially if bean sprouts or pea greens are added).
- Ladle sauce over noodles and garnish with green onion and, if you like, a sprinkle of Sichuan peppercorns.