Borscht

This is Ukrainian style borscht taught to me by our dear friends Vova & Luba. Be prepared, as I was not, to make a really big pot. Vova says “You can’t make a small pot of Borscht”. So there you have it.. make lots!

Start with a big giant pot and:

1 Kilo Pork
1.5 Kilo Pork Bones

Trim and fry pork fat in large pot until most of the oily fat comes out, then fry cubed pork until seared and slightly browned.

Finely chop or food process then add in:

2 Carrots
2 Onions
1/2 Bulb Garlic
1 Hot Pepper

Add in pork, bones, tomato paste, spices, and lots of water.

770 g Tomato Paste (basically lots. “Borscht should be really red”)
Paprika
Black Pepper
Basil
Salt
Sugar

Bring to boil for 20-30 minutes, then add in:

9 Potatoes – Large Cubes (“peeled because you feed the peels to the pigs and it makes them taste better”)
1 Beet – Peeled Small Cubes

Cook for another 30 minutes or so, then add in:

1 Cabbage – Chopped

Let cook for 5 minutes then add in:

1/3-1/2 Bunch Fresh Parsley Chopped (we actually used cilantro here, but they said parsley adds a better flavor)
1 Bunch of Fresh Dill Chopped

Let cook for 5 minutes more then serve with Sour Cream and more chopped Dill and Cilantro (Parsley?), and some nice dark rye bread with garlic bulbs and salt.

Taiwanese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian)

Seared Beef Chunks
Water
Soy Sauce (the good stuff.. none of that die nasty junk)
Onions (lots)
Garlic (lots)
Ginger (goodly amount)
Star Anise
Pepper Corns
Spicy Chili Peppers
Carrots

Noodles
Spinach
Cilantro
Green Onions

Lets just start by saying that if you can do a broth with beef bones its better, but if not its still good.

Sear beef chunks then add to pot or slow cooker. Chop onions into thin strips. Chop garlic into large chunks. Add water, soy sauce, onions, garlic, and spices. Let cook for a long while. Adjust soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and spicy peppers along the way to taste.

Serve with raw spinach and noodles, and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Turkish Lentil Soup

On our way to Taiwan our flight was delayed by over an hour. I suppose this isn’t too big of a deal if the airline coordinates things properly. Well they didn’t.. and our 1 1/2 hour stopover in Turkey turned out to be over 24 hours as we waited for the next available flight to Taiwan. “Where’s Taiwan?” .. not a good question to be asked by your airline. Long story short, it was a rough stopover to say the least.

However!! and this is the silver lining part.. the lentil soup! Wow.. we had it several times, and man is it good. Half way through my first bowl I made up my mind to learn how to make it. So here ya go! The fruits of our “trip” to Turkey!

1 Part Lentils (Soaked overnight in cold water)
Onion Red/Purple
Carrots
6 Parts Chicken/Vegetable Broth
Butter (use a goodly amount)
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Pepper flakes, Paprika
Tomato Paste
Lemon
Mint

Finely chop onion and carrot. Saute in butter until slightly soft (not browned). Add lentils, broth, and seasoning. Simmer until lentils are soft. Use a stick blender to make it smooth, then add the seasonings to taste.

Garnish with lemon and mint and serve with pita or bread.

::: Turkish Inspired Lentil Stew with Beef :::
Same as above except more lentils will make it thicker, and braise some beef chunks and add while cooking. I made a huge pot of this for the college meeting and it got emptied post haste.

Pho Broth Recipe

Awesome Beef Tail Pho Broth Recipe

2 Beef Tails
10 Liters of Water
3 Medium Onions (quartered)
5 Inch Piece of Ginger (halved)
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 1/2 Tablespoons Coriander Seeds
1 1/2 Tablespoons Fennel Seeds
9 Star Anise Pieces
9 Whole Cloves
1/3 Cup Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Sugar

Add bones to pot and fill with cold water. Bring to boil keep boiling for 5 minutes. Drain dirty water and bones. Rinse bones in warm water. Thoroughly clean pot.

Add clean bones and cold water to clean pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.

Quarter onions, halve the ginger, then broil (turning occasionally) until charred/browned on all sides. Add to simmering pot.

Toast spices by adding them to dry frying pan and cooking on low heat until fragrant. Add to simmering pot.

Add fish sauce and sugar. Simmer all day or overnight.

Pro tip: wrap everything except bones in a tied cheese cloth before putting in pot to make it easier to filter.

West Lake Style Fish Soup

9 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Lb White Fish
3 TBsp Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Peas
1/2 Cup Corn
2 Eggs
1 TBsp White Pepper
2 TBsp Cornstarch
1 Cup Cilantro
1 TBsp Cooking Sherry or Wine (optional)
Glass noodles or thin rice noodles

Combine and heat chicken stock, soy sauce, and pepper. Add fish and cook until fish is crumbly. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of COLD water to dissolve, then mix into soup to thicken. Scramble eggs then stir into hot soup. If peas and corn are frozen, defrost then add to soup. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro, and serve immediately. Optionally add some thin rice noodles (a must for my wife).

West Lake Style Fish Soup

Hot and Sour Soup (with Hand-cut Noodles)

What happens when your gas runs out for your gas stove? One answer is that you could find out how to use your rice cooker in more efficient and variety-filled ways than you ever have before. Our version of this, was to make Chinese hot and sour soup. The soup can be optionally served with hand-cut noodles, which I’ll also describe how to make below.

Ingredients:
10 cups water
about 1/2 kilo of ground beef, pork or chicken
large bowl of cold water
3/4 cup dried Shiitake mushrooms
1 and 1/2 cups lettuce or Nappa cabbage, chopped into slivers
3/4 cup dried orange flower (optional)
1/2 cup dried Chinese wood ear mushroom (optional)
4 slices ginger
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
red pepper flakes or rooster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons corn starch, mixed in a little cold water
2 eggs, beaten
a bit of green onion (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste
1 cup carrots, cut into slivers (optional)
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
3/4 cup bamboo (optional)
3/4 cup baby corn (optional)
1/2 block of tofu (optional)

Soak the Shiitake, the orange flowers, and the wood ear mushrooms in the bowl of cold water. Let sit for half an hour.

Chop up the lettuce, ginger, garlic, and any other vegetables.

Bring the 10 cups of water to a boil in the rice cooker. Stir in the ground beef. After stirring briskly for several minutes, the meat should break apart into pieces.

Pour in the soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Mix in the sugar.

Chop up the wood ear mushrooms into large pieces, and cut the Shittake into slivers.

Mix all of the vegetables into the pot. Let cook for about 10-15 minutes.

Pour in the beaten eggs, stirring the pot while pouring. Then mix in the red pepper flakes and white pepper. Add salt to taste.

Serve the soup on top of hand-cut noodles. Sprinkle a bit of chopped green onion on top.

Hand-cut Noodles
(if you only have one rice cooker, pour your prepared hot and sour soup into another pot, and wash out the rice cooker pot in order to cook the noodles)

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup water

Stir and knead the flour and water together until a dough is formed that’s not too firm and not too soggy. Add extra flour or water as needed.

Knead the dough for another 2-3 minutes. Then split the dough into halves.

Roll out a half into a large, flat piece. Sprinkle flour over it generously.

Fold the flat piece into thirds. Then cut up the piece into slivers. Unfold each sliver. The result should be long noodles.

Boil a pot of water. Throw the noodles into the pot while boiling. Do not overfill the pot with noodles.

Stir slightly while the noodles are cooking, so they don’t stick to each other or to the pot.

After 10 minutes of cooking, take the noodles out of the pot. Serve immediately. For more noodles, use the other half of the dough, or save the other half for leftovers.

hot-n-sour-soup

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Ingredients:
10 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 2-cm cubes fresh ginger, cut into thin slices
5 garlic cloves
3-4 whole star anise pieces
1 kilo beef, cut into chunks
2 onions, cut into small chunks or thin slices
4-5 carrots, chopped
2-4 portions of egg noodles
1 chili pepper, sliced (optional)
cooking oil
salt
5 stalks of green onions, chopped
10 fresh cilantro stalks, chopped
 
 
Chop up all the vegetables (except the green onions and cilantro) and beef.
 
Sear the beef chunks in hot cooking oil for about 1 minute. Combine the beef (and residual meat juice) with water, soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, star anise, onions, carrots, and chili in a large pot.
 
Let simmer on very low heat for at least 4 hours. For best results, cook in a crock pot overnight (about 8 hours). Beef should be very tender. Salt to taste.
 
In a separate pot, cook the noodles.
 
Chop up the green onions and cilantro.
 
Drain the noodles. Serve by pouring beef soup over the noodles and removing the ginger and star anise pieces. Sprinkle the green onions and cilantro on top.
 
Version 1.0 (B.A. -- before Andrew)

Version 1.0 — pre-Andrew version, made in my first year in Israel

 

 

Version 2.0 -- you can see the large ginger slices (which are not for eating, unless you're a hardcore Asian, which we are not although Andrew does come close)

Version 2.0 — you can see the large ginger slices (which are not for eating, unless you’re a hardcore Asian, which we are not although Andrew does come close)

 

 

Version 2.1 -- with hand-cut noodles, but that's for another post

Version 2.1 — with hand-cut noodles, but that’s for another post