With the official first day of summer around the corner, it still feels, at times, like winter here in Seattle. My plans to charge forward in summer season cooking and leave the comfort foods behind, keeps getting stalled. Chris has been asking for my braised oxtail and, today, yet another grey day, I gave in. This oxtail is made in the same fashion as most other Chinese 'red cooked' meats. Red cooked, meaning basically braised in soy, is a popular homestyle cooking method for otherwise tougher cuts of meat.
Trim any fat off the oxtail and blanche in boiling water for a few minutes to remove any impurities. Drain the oxtail and return to cleaned pan with 1/3 cup dark soy, 1/4 cup of cooking wine, a couple tablespoons of sugar, several garlic cloves, a few slices of ginger, and enough water to cover the oxtail. Braise, simmering over low heat for 1 1/2 hours. At that point, add in 2 bunches of cleaned scallions, cut in half cross-wise. Cover and simmer for another 45 minutes. The oxtail should be very tender, almost falling off the bone. Uncover, and bring to a rapid boil to thicken the sauce a bit if needed. Rich, deep, flavorful. Definitely a bowl of rice needed!
And by request for the girls, Cantonese fried chow mein. Translated into 'two sides golden' noodles, meaning browned on both sides, these crispy and soft noodles are another favorite. I submerged the noodles in boiling water for 30 seconds and drained. Then in a non-stick pan, over medium high heat, I browned both sides of the noodles with a little oil. Keep the noodles formed together, almost like a pancake and flip them only once. This crisps and browns the outside layer of the cake of noodles and the center remains soft. In a wok, I fried sliced onions, minced garlic, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and chinese sausage. Then added oyster sauce, soy and water and brought to a boil and thickened with a mixture of corn starch and water. The sauce should be enough to coat the noodles well. I had maybe a full cup of sauce. The huge plate of noodles were devoured by my kids in a manner that, I commented to them, was a little barbaric. As I said to them, it's a compliment to me, but might be viewed as quite impolite to others.