2-3 lbs. of beef chuck, beef stew meat, or beef shank, cut into 1 1/2-2" pieces.
4 slices ginger
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 scallions, cut into 1" sections
1 cup whiskey or Shaohsing wine
4 tbsp. hot bean paste
2 medium carrots, peeled & cut into 1" pieces
1 onion, quartered
20 cups water
2 star aniseeds
1/4 tsp. 5-spice powder
2 tsp. whole Szechuan peppercorns or 1 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorn (optional)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 cup fresh cilantro (mostly stalks), chopped
1 lb. fresh Chinese noodles (or use dried wide noodles; fettuccine is a good substitute)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Chili Oil (Layu)
Fresh red chilies, sliced
1. Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and scallions and saute for 30 seconds. Add beef and cook 2-3 minutes until slightly browned.
2. Add Shaohsing wine and cook for several minutes until reduced by about 1/4. Add hot bean paste & carrot, onion, and toss for 30 seconds.
3. Add 20 cups water, star aniseeds, 5-spice powder, Szechuan peppercorns, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce and cilantro stalks. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. cook at least 2 hours or until the beef is really tender (longer, if using beef shank). Once the meat is tender, remove the carrots, onion, ginger, and star aniseeds (you don't want to accidentally serve these, as the seeds are as tough as bark).
4. In the meantime, cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain & set aside.
5. To serve: pour about 1 tsp. of chili oil in the bottom of each serving bowl. Top with noodles & garnish with chopped cilantro, scallions & red chili peppers. Ladle soup over the noodles & serve immediately.
Onion & carrots.
But if you can find beef shank (99 Ranch Market carries boneless cut beef shank), then by all means use it because it will be the most tender.
Remove the onions, carrots, ginger slices & star aniseeds before serving.
For this dish, I like to use this brand of dried wide noodles from Taiwan (available at 99 Ranch Market). If not readily available in your neighborhood, then substitute with fresh or dried fettuccine or linguine.