Notes on NoodleFest 09

nu ro mian

We made our annual vat of nu ro mian last night, and we are in agreement that this is the best batch so far. A few things made it so:
– we upped the spicy even a notch further than last year, and that did the job. the bottles of chili oil went very nearly untouched at the table. 3 chilis + 3 tbsp of peppercorns + 10 tbsp spicy bean paste for the mild version, which was actually a little spicy. 14 chilis, 4 heaping tbsp of peppercorns and 12 tbsp spicy bean paste, three of them of the spicier type, for the spicylicious version.
– we found beef shank at the Kam Man market in Quincy, which is far superior in this application to the stewing beef from Costco. Loads more fat and connective tissue, and it shows in both the moistness of the meat (at last!) and in the richness of the broth.
– we went absolutely bananas with the tendon. Almost 7 pounds went into this thing, along with almost 11 pounds of shank. (Yes, we have rather a lot of leftovers.)
– we finally sorted out the logistics of large-scale noodle cooking. We bought a couple of cheapo electric range-burners at Target, and had one pot of water coming up to boil while the wide steamer-pot base was cooking 2 packs of noodles on the stove. This staging kept the noodles coming at a steady pace without suffering gumminess of any kind (unless they got left in the colander untaken for a while).

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