Wednesday, September 3, 2008
No bento this week, had to relax being that it was a holiday. None the less I still have a entry in my back pocket. This one comes from my Dad. It's called "Lu Rou" , it's a braised beef shank, normally served either as a cold appetizer or if cooked a little longer in a Beef noodle soup. Growing up in a Chinese restaurant there were many restaurant recipes that I learned and many traditional things that my father produced like magic. I'm glad I have a chance to get to catalog these.
The braising liquid is a mixture of traditional Chinese five spice, a misc bag of spices and soy sauce. It's a pretty ubiquitous blend of stewing spices for many a braise which is used later for noodle soups.
The cut of meat used doesn't really have to be beef shank, however in a long slow cooking process, beef shank, having a lot of connective tissue, breaks down and gives you an interesting texture for a final product. Yes the final product isn't very pretty but it's pretty tasty. The spices infuses the meat all the way thru without being too salty. And as with many chinese dishes, texture is just as important as taste. For a cold appetizer dish the strong bite of the meat is important, in a noodle soup, the beef is braised for longer such that the shank falls apart as you bite into it.
I'm very glad I can start replicating my father's wonderful recipes, I like to think I can carry on the family traditions of a great chef. That said I still need to practice my "feel" for traditional recipes in this case I could have braised the meat a bit longer. Still good, but not as good as dad would have made it :)