Thursday, September 16, 2004

Noodle Soup with Beef and Spinach

J had a recipe in a cookbook we must have lost during the move. I tried to improvise and I think we actually improved upon the original. I'm sure that the cinnamon and anise have healing properties, but I'm not sure what... This soup makes the whole house smell of exotic spices.. all you'd need is to burn a little spiced myrrh through some woven rugs on the wall and imagine yourself on a trade route to Asia.

1 lb beef cut into chunks for stew
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp ginger julienned
1 medium onion peeled and scored at one end
5 star anise
1 pod of Chao Kwo*, Optional
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 c. soy sauce
6-7 c. water
2 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 lb bag of spinach leaves
1/2 c. chopped scallions
1 package fresh Chinese noodles (those used for wonton noodle soup work well).

* I know this is wrong, but I picked it up from the spice section of the Asian Grocery...not knowing exactly what these pods were... but the smelt wonderfully of slightly smoky cardamon... they just smelt good... for all I know they could provide the benefits of a cure of atheletes foot or even act as an aphrodisiac... though that is of course doubtful. I've looked it up on the internet and my queries have returned nothign... I'm thinking of taking a few pods into work and asking someone who may be able to tell me what they are.

In a medium hot skillet, brown the beef on all sides in the one tablespoon of oil. Set aside. In a large soup pot heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, cinnamon stick, anise and Chao Kwo. Reduce heat to medium low and saute for five minutes. Add the oyster and soy sauces and tamarind paste and heat of a few more minutes. Pour in water and add the onion and beef. Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Before serving throw in spinach, scallions and sesame oil and stir. Serve in large bowls over boiled, drained noodles.

Serves at four people quite heartily.


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