Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gnow Num or My Attempt

Gnow Num, what is it? A very savory Chinese beef stew. While staying with Karen for the weekend we got to have some that her youngest son Andrew made. WOW! It was excellent. I love Gnow Num anyway but Andrew's was the best. He had made a big pot so he could take some to his brother who was in the hospital. Lucky Brandon (though not so lucky to be in the hospital) never had to eat hospital food because Andrew kept making him food. Luckily for all of us it was the Martin Luther King holiday weekend so Andrew was home from the UC Davis. I have to say Andrew is an awesome cook. He learned by watching his grandfather cook while he was growing up and just picked up his grandfathers enjoyment for cooking. I don't know if Andrew uses recipes from his grandfather or if all the dishes he makes are from memory. What ever the case, he's a darned good cook.
As I was eating the Gnow Num that day, I was noting in my mind what the flavors were..certainly five spice and star anise but other than that I wasn't sure. I asked Andrew about it and he said yes, five spice, a few star anise seeds, cinnamon stick,Chinese barbecue sauce, Chinese wine, Oyster sauce. Those are the things I can remember. He used brisket and tendons and cartilage. I never knew you could buy just tendons and cartilage. I used beef short ribs and a beef chuck roast. I didn't go buy any tendons or cartilage though. I think that's really what give the broth such a good flavor and makes it nice and gelatinous when cooled.
Today, I'm trying to recreate Andrews dish. Of course Andrew didn't have measurements for any of the ingredients and usually for stews and this type of dish I don't either. But, just for you guys I wrote down all the ingredients I used and even measured. The measurements will probably have to be tweaked to suit your own taste. So far I think it will be good, at least the house smells wonderful. I love the smell of Five Spice and Anise.
So, here is my version of Andrew's Gnow Num

Gnow Num
preheat oven to 350 degrees serves 4-6

3pkgs beef short ribs (with bone)
2lb chuck roast cut into cubes
Brown the short ribs on all sides, set aside. Brown the cubes of chuck on all sides, set aside
2- 26oz cartons of beef stock
3 star anise
1-11/2 tsp five spice powder or to taste
1 cinnamon stick broken in half
1 Tbsp oyster sauce or to taste
1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce or Chinese barbecue sauce to taste
3Tbsp Sherry wine or Chinese wine(Shaoxing)
1-2 Tbs fish sauce or to taste
2 Tbsp brown sugar or to taste
soy sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste.

After browning the beef remove from the pan, add the beef broth to the pan and deglaze. Add the rest of the ingredients. Check for taste and correct to suit your taste. Add the beef back into the stock. If the stock does not cover the meat add water, just enough to cover the meat. Bring to a low boil.
Cover and put the pot into the oven and cook for 3-4 hours until the meat is falling apart tender. By this time the bones should have fallen off the meat. Remove the bones, cinnamon stick and anise seeds. Check the seasonings, adjust as needed.
Serve with rice and Sirachia hot sauce if desired.
You can do this stove top.. cover and simmer for about the same amount of time. Stir every once in a while to make sure nothing sticking to the bottom of the pan. Taste every once in a while and adjust seasonings.

I gave some to my friend Chris today so she could try it. She gave me the thumbs up so I'm happy to say it was a success. With any left over beef I think I'm going to go get some fun (foon) noodles and put the left over beef over it. Chris is waiting for some of that too. So, that will be another blog.
This is easy, one pot. Brown the beef, add the rest of the ingredients, stick it in the oven and forget about it for several hours. I would think this could be done in a crock pot too.

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