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Sichuan Braised Short Ribs & Egg Noodles

Sichuan Braised Short Ribs & Egg Noodles

This is a Frankenstein of a few delicious Sichuan recipes, flavors and ideas combined into one - the folks over at The Woks of Life and The Mala Market do a great job painstakingly searching for and outlining traditional recipes, and both are worth a follow if you’re new to them. 

Specifically, this dish started as a nod to Xi’an Famous Foods’ Biang Biang Mian noodle plates - dense, homemade noodles drowning in chili oil served with lamb, pork or beef. Given we were looking for a way to use some of our Happy Valley Meat short ribs and we’d just picked up a new Instant Pot, we figured we’d try the two out together.

When we first pulled the ribs out of the cooker, they were good.  Not great, but good - as advertised, 45 minutes of cooking left us with tender, slide-off-the-bone meat. At that point we had a pot full of braising liquid leftover, so we thought to try and reduce the liquid down and keep the meat moist while we were at it.

THIS was incredible.  Given the extra time to simmer and the concentration of the broth, the short ribs took on a lip-smacking, spice-tinged flavor and practically fell apart at the touch of a spoon.  These were perfect, so all that was left was to not screw up the noodles.

Last time we made noodles, we opted for basic flour-and-water noodles, and they were okay. We probably let them cook too much, and they weren’t trying to be anything special, but after making fresh egg noodles for a lasagna last week, we had egg on the brain and decided to go that route. In particular, making them with egg yolks gave them a flavor that could balance against the heft of the short ribs.

The sauce components are quickly sautéed and combined with the braising liquid, noodles and meat. Seriously, this is an incredible vehicle for short ribs - it's a lot of work but worth every second - do yourself a favor and try it out.

Sichuan Braised Short Ribs

Egg Noodles

Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp Ginger, grated
  • 2 Scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated
  • 7 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Dried Red Chili Pepper, rehydrated & finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Lao Gan Ma Chili Oil
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Celery Stalk, sliced thin
  • 3 Cabbage Leaves, rough chopped

Braise the Short Ribs

If using a pressure cooker/Instant Pot:

Set the Instant Pot to saute.  While waiting for it to heat up, season the short ribs liberally on all sides with kosher salt and black peppercorn.  Pour two tablespoons cooking oil into the pot and brown the short ribs on all sides, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Once each side is browned, add the onion and ginger and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and chili peppers and cook for one minute. Pour in the soy, wine, doubinjiang and sichuan peppercorns, and pour on the water. 

Cover the pot and set to high pressure.  Cook for 45 minutes.

When the 45 minutes are up, allow the pot to naturally depressurize, and remove the beef.  Strain off and discard the aromatics from the liquid, saving the liquid. Pour the liquid into a pot and reduce its volume by half over medium-high heat. Slide the bones off the short ribs, and roughly chop the meat. 

If using a stovetop/dutch oven: 

Place a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. While waiting for it to heat up, season the short ribs liberally on all sides with kosher salt and black peppercorn. Pour two tablespoons cooking oil into the pot and brown the short ribs on all sides, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Once each side is browned, add the onion and ginger and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and chili peppers and cook for one minute. Pour in the soy, wine, doubinjiang and sichuan peppercorns, and pour on the water. 

Cover the pot, bring to a simmer then set to low heat. Cook for 2 hours on low, or until the bone slides off the meat easily.

Once the liquid has reduced by half, turn the heat to low and add the short ribs. Simmer slowly for at least one hour, or until the meat is falling apart and the liquid has reduced and thick.  Do not rush this step - if you boil the meat, it will become tough. Set aside once it is ready.

Make the Noodles

In the base of a stand mixer (or a bowl if mixing by hand), combine the egg yolks, egg, flour and salt. Mix on slow until the dough has come together completely - it should be smooth and not sticky, don't be afraid to add water or flour as needed as it comes together.

Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. Each time you rest the dough, you're looking for a more pliable dough to work with. If it needs more time, take a few more minutes and come back once it has had time to rest a bit.

Cut the dough into four pieces. You can use a rolling pin for this step, or you can use a pasta machine - either works.  Roll the dough flat, alternating between the four cut pieces to let each rest momentarily so it's easier to work with.  Once the dough is around 1/8 inch thick, take a knife and cut the pasta into long pieces about 3/4 inch wide. Let the noodles rest, then if you want them a little thinner lightly slap the noodles on the counter to stretch them our slightly. Toss with a little flour and set aside.

Make the Sauce & Finish

Heat a pot of water to a boil. Season with kosher salt, the water should taste mildly salty.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of cooking oil and sauté the ginger and scallions for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and chilies and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently.

At this point, drop the noodles into the boiling water - the water should be simmering steadily.  Cook them for about one minute, taste for texture, and remove the noodles when they're done.

While the noodles are cooking, add the chili oil, sugar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt and wine along with the red onions and celery.  Cook on high heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage leaves and noodles directly to the pan and season with a pinch of salt.  Toss to coat all the vegetables in the sauce.

Finally, combine the short ribs and reduced braising liquid with the noodles in the pan and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.

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