No, it’s not the latest rap act out on the streets talking about making some c$sh and getting some @$$. Just a lame excuse to dress up the acronym for one of my favorite Chinese noodle dishes. NRM stands for “Niu Ro Mian”, literally ‘beef-noodle’. Kirk of Mmm-Yoso! and I decided to do a synchronized post on NRM. Like Vietnamese Pho noodles, NRM recipes vary by province. For example, Shanghai style NRM is bloody spicy – with the soup almost looking like lava. I can’t handle the heat so I devised my own recipe. I took the common ingredients and I guess I made it more Cantonese style. The broth is a little bit sweeter, heavier on star anise and five spice powder. I usually judge the quality of a restaurant by their ability to prepare NRM. Same goes with a Vietnamese restaurant’s ability to make stellar Pho. If they can’t get that right, chances are, the other stuff on the menu won’t fare too well. But that’s just me.
Here are the ingredients I’ve used:
??? of water
2 lbs. of beef shank
2 cloves of garlic
5 slices of ginger
2 green onions (smashed the white part with my knife)
Shaoxing rice wine
soy sauce (used for flavoring)
dark soy sauce (used for coloring)
five spice powder (wu xiang fen)
salt & white pepper
chili bean paste
Kirk also uses similar ingredients, only he uses dried chili peppers and peppercorns. I should definitely try that next time once I develop an iron stomach.
Start by adding salt and white pepper on the cubed shank meat. Mix it in a bowl with a little bit of Shaoxing rice wine, dark soy sauce and oil. Let that marry in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Heat up the pan and make sure it’s smoking hot. Add oil, garlic, ginger slivers and green onions, and let it brown for 1 minute. Add the marinated meat and cook till it’s a dark brown color. Fill up the pot with water and boil it on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium. You’ll start to see a raft of impurities floating on top. This is where you have to baby the NRM and check upon it every 15-20 minutes. You don’t wanna be drinking the ‘floaties’.
Next add soy sauce to taste, star anise, five spice powder and let this boil for 3-4 hours. I usually start cooking this pretty late at night, so I have to cook this over two days. So, a total of about 6-8 hours, depending on how tender you want the beef to be. Now after a few hours of boiling, the water will obviously evaporate, so you’ll have to keep refilling the water. This is my preference. Some people like to keep the soup a little bit thicker and full-tasting. Garnish with green onions, cilantro, Chinese pickled vegetables and hot sauce. Add your favorite greens on top and let it cook in the broth.
This is not the type of NRM you’d see at a restaurant. Kirk’s definitely looks way more authentic, and I’d suggest you try his before you try mine haha. But, if it helps, I have plenty of satisfied customers including my family. I like my soup less stocky and full of flavor. If you like a thicker broth, add corn starch to the beef marinade before you brown the meat. I also prefer thick 1/4” dried noodles over the skinny, spaghetti style noodles you’ll sometimes see at a restaurant.
In addition to making NRM, I have to have my side dishes – Chinese ‘Baan Chan’. A popular favorite is the spicy, garlic cucumbers. Simply use Persian, Japanese or hot house cucumbers or pickles and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Add salt, white pepper, garlic (lots!), chili bean paste (any kind of hot sauce will do) and sesame oil to taste. If it’s too salty, counter balance it with some sugar.
Same goes with another one of my favorites, shredded bean curd. Garnish with cilantro and thin slices of carrots. If you like rice vinegar, it’s a good addition.
This is a great dish to have during the winter. And during hangovers. Enjoy.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Posted by e d b m at 12:03 AM