Forget the multi-dish platters, considered assortments or the requirement to share . . . sometimes all you want is a one-pot meal. Over hundreds of years, the Chinese have developed the art of noodle-making. Whether it’s thin al dente wonton noodles, thick and starchy ho fun or carefully hand-crafted dragon noodles, there seems to be a noodle for every mood and occasion.
This dish is beautifully fragrant with five-spice and, considering the amount of flavour, healthy beyond belief. Surely nothing that tastes this good can be so healthy! Prepare, cook, devour – it’s that simple.
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed, halved and bruised
250g stewing beef, preferably flank or shin, cut into 3cm cubes
1 star anise
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
½ a cinnamon stick
1 litre beef stock
3–4 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
200g precooked ho fun noodles
4 leaves of Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 spring onion, finely sliced
PREPARATION TIME 10 MINUTES. COOKING TIME 1-2 HOURS
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a high heat. When hot, add the ginger, garlic, halved spring onions and the beef and fry until the meat is golden on all sides.
2. Add the star anise, five-spice powder, cinnamon and beef stock, and bring to a simmer. Add the Shaoxing rice wine, taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Simmer for 1–2 hours, until the meat is tender. Top up the liquid level with water if needed.
3. Once the beef is tender, strain the liquid into a clean pan. Discard the whole spices and the chunks of ginger and garlic and put the meat to one side. Heat the liquid through, adding the soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce when the stock is hot. Taste and add more water if the flavour is too intense.
4. Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the noodles for 2–3 minutes, stirring to separate and soften, then strain. Divide the noodles between the serving bowls and add the cabbage to
5. Divide the beef between the bowls and pour over the hot soup. Sprinkle over the sliced spring onions and serve.
> Find out all about the show on my Channel 4 website
> Get your hands on all the recipes: Buy ‘Gok Cooks Chinese’