Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tripe Soup

In Soviet Russia, hangovers cure YOU!  Hahahaha, but seriously, here's something I found fascinating.  Lots of people already know that menudo, the Mexican bubbling broth of tripe and chili paste, is used as a traditional hangover cure.  However, did you know that tripe soup is also a traditional hangover cure in Turkey?  And Romania? 

I went to this Turkish restaurant last night and this how they serve their İşkembe çorbası:
First, a condiment tray with paprika, minced garlic, sumac, mint and vinegar is delivered to your table.

Then the soup itself:
It tasted like it was nothing more than boiled tripe.  The soup itself was lightly thickened and a brief Google search indicates that it was probably flour.   I asked the Turkish waiter how he liked his soup and he said that he preferred only vinegar and garlic.  I went that route and it's not bad, not bad at all but I also liked some paprika thrown in there as well as a few pinches of the green herbs.  The sumac didn't do much for me.

All in all, I love days when I tie together things like this: Mexico and Turkey both prescribe tripe soup as hangover cures.  I'm such a food geek it's not even funny.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Niu Rou Mian 牛肉麵 v.1

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Long time readers already know that I love love love love love noodle soup.  (For past entries, see here, here and here.)  Here is another version.  The goal was to make a bowl of Taiwanese niu rou mian (niu rou=beef, mian=noodle) but I didn't get the aromatics quite right.  Instead, I ended up with a very nice bowl of soy-braised beef noodle soup.  Not a bad compromise.  :)  I asked my mom for her spice proportions and she explained that most Taiwanese cooks use pre-bagged spice blends so I'm going to head to my local Chinatown and see if I can't find one of these magic bags of goodness. 

2 lbs braising beef cut into chunks (you can use beef chuck, beef short ribs, etc.)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

Mix all of the ingredients.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

2 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
1 inch piece of ginger peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon EACH of sichuan peppercorns and 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon EACH of fermented black beans and black bean/garlic sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
a few dried red chiles
1/2 cup of light soy sauce
2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce

Blanched Greens (I used broccoli rabe)
Minced Green Onions
Whatever else you like

(Very basic instructions)
1. Brown green onions and and ginger.  Brown marinated beef.  Deglaze with rice wine.  Add everything else from the "AROMATICS AND SOUP" section.  Bring to a simmer.  Skim broth to remove impurities.  Simmer until beef is tender.  Taste.  Adjust seasoning with soy and water.  Cool and refrigerate over night.

2. There should be a semi-solid fat cap on top of the soup.  Remove the fat cap.  Remove the pieces of beef and set aside.  Strain the remaining liquid.  Combine strained liquid with beef.  Set aside.

3. Prepare garnishes.  Boil noodles.  Add a touch of sesame oil to soup bowl.  Add cooked noodles.  Add garnishes and beef.  EAT.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

BTTR Gourmet Garden and Sprouts!

Man alive (no pun intended), it is SO much fun watching something come to life. 

Exhibit #1.  Remember that mushroom box I picked up about a week ago?  Here's what it looks like today:  

Check it out!  Amazing!  I am so excited for this.  I am already dreaming about a big steaming bowl of Thai Tom Yum soup!

Exhibit #2: Sprouts!
Some of the seeds worked, some not.  Most notably, the yellow mustard seed went absolutely nuts, the fenugreek seeds look good and, I think with a bit more time, the black mustard seeds will look like their paler counterpart.  Nothing from the cumin, caraway and coriander.  Still, very exciting!