The beauty of a long, slow braise is that it transforms - without much effort on your part - a watery and murky mass into glistening and voluptuous velvet, ready to be draped over all manner of carbs like wheat noodles, pasta or potatoes. Few things in life are as assured as marinading and stewing a (Cheap-ish) cut of meat until it succumbs to yielding tenderness. Much easier with meat than with the capricious human heart, eh? You just let time work its magic and you know that at the end of the day, you'll have a tender, maybe fall-apart (if you desire) end result. The margin of error is much smaller (almost nil) here than say, searing a steak medium-rare. Those are good odds for any home cook.
Here, chunks of beef are braised in a doubanjeang (*chilli bean paste that amps up the flavaaa like you would NOT believe! ;) and soy-spiced mixture. After a couple hours of stewing, they're plopped on top of starchy and chewy La Mian and served with a light scatter of spring onions.
Sure, you could go Keto, but as a Carbie girl, it's as much a sin for me not to have a vehicle of carbohydrate to sop up that delicious saus, as it would equally freak a Keto (are they called Keto-nites?) dieter out to consume that much "sugar". I digress...
800g beef shin (or use brisket, or cheek, ribs or pork shoulder.. any long-slow braising cut would work)
2.5 Tablespoons doubanjeang * (This is a key flavouring here and if you omit this, it'd be a different animal altogether..)
2 Tablespoons light soy
2 Tablespoons dark soy
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
15g ginger, smashed
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 a red onion or a few shallots, sliced
4 spring onions, bottom white parts only (save the tops for garnish)
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 to 3 dried chillies
1.5 to 2 liters of water
2 to 3 tablespoons of canola oil
salt or light soy, to taste
noodles of your choice, to serve
spring onion tops, sliced, to garnish
First, chunk up your meat into equal sizes (roughly) and set them aside. Make sure you've got your spring onion whites, ginger, garlic and onion ready as well. That's basically all the rough-ish, chunky prep you need!
In your stewing pot, heat up your canola oil over medium-low heat. Add in your aromatics -the ginger, spring onions, red onion and garlic. Let it go for abit before adding in your dried chillies, cinnamon stick and star anise. You'll smell the aromas... Crank the heat up to high and add in your beef chunks.
Let the beef seal on all side and add in your dark soy, light soy and doubanjeang. Let it all hang out for abit and top it up with your water. You want all the meat submerged. So now, just clamp the lid on, turn the heat down to a low simmer and let time work its magic. It'll take about 3 to 4 hours to the beef to become tender, depending on your heat and how large you chunked your beef up. Just check occasionally and give everything a stir around. If you feel that things are evaporating a little too quickly in there, feel free to just top it all up with more water.
When your beef is tender, unclamp the lid and let it reduce until your desired sauce consistency. Here's the time to adjust for seasoning as well. Do note that you'll be draping these over noodles, so you can afford for it to taste slightly more savoury.
Before serving, boil up your noodles of choice. Drain & Drizzle some sesame oil over them to prevent sticking. Plop into serving bowls and ladle over the saus-y, chilli beef mixture. Sprinke spring onion greens and serve!
P/S: If you're more a visual person, I've the step by step cooking tutorial for this dish on my instagram here. Just scroll to the IG Stories Highlights titled "Beef Noodz". Enjoy!