Archive for December, 2009

Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I’m back. :) Did anybody miss me? I know I’ve been bad. :( I haven’t post anything in over a month! This is the longest it’s been idle since I revamp my website. Blame it on the shopping season which made me wander around different stores almost daily catching deals. Or was it the cold weather which forbidden me from going into the kitchen because my fingers are cold and I don’t feel like cooking. Well, whatever it is I am here now. πŸ˜› Wishing my readers a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and happy New Year.

It’s officially winter and my tush is freezing! A few weeks ago we had the chill advisory and now there is a snow storm in many parts of the US. This kind of weather makes me crave for hot soup like noodles or Yao Hon (Cambodian style hot pot). My Mother and sister will be preparing Yao Hon for our family Christmas dinner but had also asked me to make and bring some Roast Pork with Crackling. I’ve made it for them a couple of times and most recently during this past Thanksgiving, I guess it was a hit. :) So, Yao Hon this Friday but for now I wanted something to keep me nice and toasty like this hot, steamy and scrumptious Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup (Kuy Teav Sach Ko Khmer) αž‚αž»αž™αž‘αžΆαžœαžŸαžΆαž…αŸ‹αž‚αŸ„αžαŸ’αž˜αŸ‚αžš.

I call it Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup because I see and taste some difference if compared to the infamous Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup known as “Pho”. I admit that I have never made Vietnamese Pho before but have ate it numerous time. I don’t know what types of ingredients goes into making Pho but IMHO I do find the taste to be powerful, not in a bad way, but it’s like the spices used sort of dominate the broth rather than the flavors of from the beef. Growing up my Mother use very simple ingredients to make the broth and the key was to simmer for long hours so that the flavors from the beef bones are extracted and the meats become tender and juicy. Perhaps this is the same way Pho broth is made but I’m just saying that the amount of spices used in Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup is less than those used in Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup. If anybody else notice any differences or similarities within these two noodle broth, please do share.

Awhile back I picked up a double pack of ox tail (about 3.5 lbs each) at Costco. The first packaged was used to make Beef Soup/Stew with Potatoes and Carrots and the second was tucked back in the freezer. You can use almost any types of beef bones. A great broth must be monitored by skimming off the frothy scum that rises to the top. To reduce the amount of these frothy scum, you might want to pre-boil the bones with about 8 cups of water. Discard the liquid and rinse the pre-boiled beef bones then continue with the process below.

Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup (makes 4 servings)
(Kuy Teav Sach Ko Khmer) αž‚αž»αž™αž‘αžΆαžœαžŸαžΆαž…αŸ‹αž‚αŸ„αžαŸ’αž˜αŸ‚αžš

12 cups of water
3 lbs of oxtail or other beef bones
5 beef bouillon cube
1 Β½ lbs fresh rice noodles (if using dried noodles pre-soak in warm water for 30 minutes)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

Spices (add to tea/herb mesh ball)
1 star anise
Β½ tablespoon whole black peppercorn
Β½ tablespoon corriander seeds
5 cloves garlic, skin peeled and lightly mashed
2 inches of ginger, peeled and slice
1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Β½ tablespoon dark soy sauce

Ideas for toppings/condiments
thinly sliced round-eye beef
thinly sliced sweet onions
beef balls
hoisin sauce
siracha chili sauce
pickled jalapeΓ±os (see my recipe)
mung bean sprouts
cilantro leaves
lime juice

Bring 12 cups of water to a boil and add ox tail (or beef bones). Bring it to a boil again and add 5 beef bouillon cube, quartered onions and spices in the mesh ball followed by all the seasonings. Let it boil for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to low and simmer cover for as long as you can go, preferably 2.5 hrs or more. Check once in awhile and skim off the frothy scum that might of rise to the top. If you want to reduce the fat content you can make the stock a day ahead and refrigerate it. By the next morning the fat will harden and rise to the top. This will make it easier to scoop out with a spoon. Discard the bones and remove the mesh ball. You can also strain it for a more liquid-y broth. But be sure to reserve any meat for toppings. Allow the broth to come to a rolling boil before serving.

When you are ready to assemble your noodle bowls, bring about 8 cups of water to a boil. (Strain) Separate noodles into 4 servings. Cook noodles in a strainer in boiling water until soften about 1-2 minutes. Empty the noodles (straining all the liquid back into the pot) into serving bowl.

It is now ready to assemble. Add additional toppings of your choice. The meat such as thinly sliced beef should be lay on the top of the noodles. Most meatballs comes pre-cook so you can just throw it in the hot broth to warm it up. Ladle about 2 cups broth into each bowl, distributing the hot broth evenly to cook and warm all the ingredients. Serve immediately with garnishes and your choice of condiments.

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