Hello foodies! It’s great to be back after a little break last week and today I am excited to tell you about the latest addition to my cookbook collection. It is written by none other than one of our talented local food bloggers, Ming-Cheau Lin. Ming recently launched her first cookbook titled “Just Add Rice” and it is unlike any of the other books on my kitchen shelf, here’s why…
Much more than just a collection of recipes this book also reads as a heartfelt and candid memoir. It details the story of Ming’s family moving to Bloemfontein from Taiwan when she was just three years old and of her struggle to find her identity as an immigrant in her new hometown. The book also contains a wealth of information about Taiwanese eating, pantry ingredients, cultural traditions and even (here is where I really learnt something) chopstick etiquette. And of course plenty of tasty dishes to try!
Ming and I have interacted on social media many times, but I finally had the pleasure of meeting her in person last month when I was invited to be part of an audience at Cape Talk where she was being interviewed about the book. It was here that I finally got my hands on my own copy and when I spotted the Taiwanese beef noodle soup I couldn’t wait to try it! Of the recipe Ming says that it is the national dish of Taiwan, made uniquely Taiwanese by the toasted soy sauce on the beef (known as red roasting). This dish is rich, fragrant and flavourful and we were all but licking our bowls clean when we made it at home. (We have also made Ming’s sweet-and-sour fried spare ribs from the book. They were a hit and if you like a bit of heat you will love them too.)
Just Add Rice is beautifully put together, moving and brimming with information. I know that I will dip into it again and again discovering something new each time. If you would like to get your hands on a copy you can click on this link – be lekker and buy local guys!
- At the end of the recipe Ming includes a list of optional ingredients, but notes that the dish will still taste great without them. I decided to include fresh coriander and spring onion from the list.
- Be sure to include the beef bones in the pot to enhance the flavour even more!
TAIWANESE BEEF NOODLE SOUP
- sunflower oil
- 3 large onions, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 100g ginger, cut into thick slices
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 8 star anise
- 1kg beef shank or shin, cut into chunks (with bone)
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 4 large carrots, cut into thick slices
- 4 plum tomatoes, skin removed
- 1 tbsp Chinese five-spice
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 5 cups of water
- 300g egg noodles
- chopped chilli
Ming’s optional extras:
- ¼ cup rice wine
- 1 tsp – ¼ cup brown sugar
- bok choy, blanched
- handful of chopped coriander
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- pickled mustard leaves
1.) Heat some sunflower oil in a large pot. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden.
2.) Add the garlic, ginger, spring onion and star anise. Continue to cook until the onions are golden brown in colour. Transfer everything to a bowl and set aside.
3.) Heat another drizzle of oil in the same pot. Add the beef chunks including the bones and brown.
4.) Add a dash of soy sauce and fry for two minutes whilst continuously adding the remaining soy sauce. (Red roasting.)
5.) Add the carrots, tomatoes, Chinese five-spice and orange juice to the pot and stir. (Add the rice wine and brown sugar at this stage if you are using them.)
6.) Add the onion mixture back into the pot. Add the water, ensuring that the ingredients are covered.
7.) Allow the soup to boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 1½ to 2 hours. Keep an eye on the pot in case you need to top up the water.
Ming’s tip: leave a wooden spoon in the pot before covering to stop it from boiling over.
8.) Cook the egg noodles in boiling water. Add a drop of oil to the water to stop the noodles from sticking together and rinse in cold water once cooked.
9.) Check the seasoning of the soup and add salt and chilli to taste.
10.) Scoop a handful of noodles into a serving bowl and top with some soup and beef. Add the bok choy and garnish with coriander, spring onion and pickled mustard leaves if using.