Friday, February 25, 2011

Hoisin Beef with Rice Noodles

Seriously, you can whip this out in almost no time.  The one day I had thawed out beef and really wanted to cook, but it was already 11:30 pm and I didn't want to stay up too terribly late because I had to be up for class the next morning.  It probably only takes about 20 minutes, give or take.

Hoisin sauce is a sweet yet spicy sort of Chinese barbecue sauce.  It's a soy-based sauce seasoned with vinegar, ginger, chili, and other spices including licorice.  Since it's kind of thick, I tend to dilute it down with rice vinegar since it adds more flavor than just plain water.  You can pick up ready made hoisin in just about any supermarket that has even a tiny Asian section, since it is quite popular.  It makes a great sauce for a quick stir-fry, as you really don't need to add much to it.

Hoisin Beef with Rice Noodles


4 oz. beef
2 scallions
handful of snow peas, trimmed
1 clove garlic
1/8 shallot (or use your favorite onion)
4 tsp. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
vegetable oil
rice stick noodles--one serving
sesame seeds (optional)

Heat a pot of water to a boil, then add the rice stick noodles.  Cook according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.  (Don't leave them sit out of water for terribly long or they will stick to one another in a giant mass.)

Mince the shallot and garlic.  Heat a little oil in a pan, then add the garlic and shallot.  Saute until the garlic has browned slightly and the shallot is softened.  Cut the beef into thin slices, then add to the pan.  Cook until the beef is no longer raw.

Chop the scallions into 1/2 in. pieces on the diagonal, and cut the snow peas in half on the diagonal.  Add the vegetables to the pan and stir-fry an additional 1-2 minutes.

Mix the hoisin and vinegar together.  Add to the pan and stir until everything is coated in the sauce.

To serve, place the rice noodles on a plate.  Spoon the stir-fry over the noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Soba with Teriyaki and Brussel Sprouts

It's been a while, hasn't it?  Well, I haven't not been cooking so much as I don't seem to have time to post.  I've got so many photographs of food, but I don't seem to be able to get them up!  Senior year seems to be quite a lot of work, indeed.  But enough of that...

I actually had chicken thawed out in the fridge, but at the last minute I decided to go against it and have something a little lighter because I wasn't quite as hungry.  I failed at that, though, because this turned out to be quite filling.  The soba, or Japanese buckwheat noodles, are served in a savory soup and topped with sliced tofu puff, scallions, and a pinch of bonito flakes.  For those unacquainted, bonito flakes are very thin shavings of dried skipjack tuna.  They're kind of pricey, but you usually only need just a pinch since they have a strong flavor.  The blurry stuff in the back is steamed brussel sprouts with teriyaki shiitake and chikuwa, or tube-shaped fish cake.  I've had these brussel sprouts in the fridge for a while and they were about to go bad, so I used them up.  Surprisingly, none of this is very "heavy" tasting, so if you've eaten a really bad, fatty lunch (like someone I know.... me), you won't feel sick afterwards, and it's very healthy.

Soba with Teriyaki and Brussel Sprouts


for soba and soup:
3.5 oz. dried soba noodles
1 1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. dashi granules
1 tsp. sake
1 tsp. mirin
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 scallion
1 tofu puff
pinch bonito flakes (optional)

for teriyaki and brussel sprouts:
1 chikuwa (tube-shaped fish cake)
2 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted
6 brussel sprouts, trimmed
1 Tbsp. sake
1 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
5 snow peas, trimmed
sesame seeds (optional)

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions, then drain, rinse with cold water to remove the starches, then drain again. 

Line a bamboo steamer with parchment paper (or just use a metal steamer basket in a pot with a lid), place the brussel sprouts inside, and place over a pan of water.  Bring the water to a boil and steam the sprouts until they are bright green and cooked through.  Remove the steamer from the pan, take off the lid to release the excess steam, and drain the water from the pan.  Reserve the pan.  Cut the brussel sprouts in half top to bottom.

Bring the measured water for the soup to a boil, then add the dashi granules, soy sauce, mirin, and sake.  Stir to dissolve the dashi.

Cut the shiitake mushrooms into 1/2 in. strips, and the chikuwa into 1/2 in. pieces on the diagonal.  Mix the sake, mirin, and soy sauce.  Reheat pan you used to steam the brussel sprouts and add the mushrooms, chikuwa, and sauce mixture.  The sauce should start to froth.  Cook until almost all the liquid has been absorbed, then remove from heat.

Cut the tofu puff into thin slices, and chop the scallion into small pieces on the diagonal.

To serve, put the soba in a bowl and pour over with soup.  Garnish with tofu puff slices, scallion, and bonito flakes.  Gently mix the shiitake, chikuwa, and brussel sprouts together in another bowl.  Garnish with snow peas and sesame seeds.