We’d been busy for the past few weeks. Two of my very close girl friends flew all the way to Vancouver to see me. They came along with their kids to spend time with my kids. And all the parents know that when we put five kids together, it feels like 500 of them running around trying to burn down your house. Thank God, my house is still securely intact!
Last time we saw each other together was nine years ago at my wedding. Sounds like a very long time. But everything is still there – the same ageless faces, endless conversations, bitchy attitudes, silly jokes, and oh my the unchanged bondage between friends!
One of the very unpredictably new topics between us was cooking! I walked them through a few easy and quick desserts that their kids adored when there were here! And they re-introduced me into the realm of Chinese cooking, something that I’ve always had my fear about. I am so bad that I would turn a vegetable stir-fry into a badly burnt grass dish. This Bad!
I’d say that a good teacher with a straight-forward tutorial is crucial for me to pick up my faith in Chinese cooking. My lovely mom-in-law makes very tasty Chinese food, but she’s notoriously messy. You spend an afternoon with her trying to learn about making dumplings, you will become dizzy and there is no way you can remember anything that you are supposed to learn.
Proudly I am now able to make this beef brisket soup, thanks to my beautiful friends. To me, the best part about cooking is that you are willing to make something from scratch, and your loved ones enjoy eating it. Now what’s even more precious is that whenever I make this dish, I will remember my friends.
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
2 pounds beef brisket
6 star anise
5 slices ginger
3 bay leaves
20 grams rock sugar
salt to taste
5 cups water
1 pound daikon, peeled and cut into pieces
1 pound leek, rinsed and sliced
1 cup chopped green onion
Boil the beef brisket for 10 minutes. Rinse it under cold water and drain it well.
In a large pot, put in star anise, ginger, bay leaves, rock sugar, salt and water. Cover and bring it to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add beef and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until beef is tender.
Remove from heat and let cool. Leave the pot in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to let the beef fat solidify.
Transfer the beef to a cutting board, and cut into chunks.
Remove the fat from the broth with a big spoon.
Heat up the clear broth with the daikon. Keep cooking over medium heat until the daikon is softened, about 20 minutes.
Add leek and beef , and cook for another 15 minutes.
Serve hot with fresh green onion.