Tag Archives: beef

Ramen Noodles in Beef Broth

This is my first beef related recipe since we had a cow butchered! You can read more about that experience here.

Don’t skip past this post just because you think people who care about good food and health don’t eat ramen. They do! Before moving to Laos, I thought ramen noodles were sort of a lazy junk food for college students. Actually that’s not true, my mom used to serve them without the liquid as a side dish and I always loved them.

Anyway, ramen can be more than junk food. The best ramen I’ve ever eaten was from a ramen restaurant in a Japanese neighborhood of Bangkok. The noodles were handmade and served in a beef broth with leafy greens and tempura shrimp. It isn’t fancy Japanese food, but it’s real food and a good ramen shop should be appreciated.

In Laos, noodles are very popular, but the noodle shops usually specialize in straight rice noodles rather than wavy ramen noodles made of wheat. But, you can buy dry ramen packets at almost any convenience store and people do. Many Lao people usually eat ramen in a healthier way than Americans do. They cook it the same way, but at the end they pile on green vegetables – cilantro, green onions, celery leaves, Thai basil . . . They might also include tomato and a cooked egg or some meat.   Continue reading

You may have thought I was a vegetarian . . .

. . . but a few weeks ago we bought a cow with 2 other families and had it butchered. This was an all day project, but still a fun thing to be a part of. We can buy meat by the kilo at the market, but it’s not very appetizing because the meat just sits out on tables outside all day. If you want to get fresh meat, you have to go early in the morning, which I never feel like doing. Even if I did go early, I just don’t know if I trust that meat. So we don’t eat a lot of meat, which may have caused some of you to think I’m a vegetarian. Really I’m a former vegetarian who is lazy and inexperienced with meat.

Here’s how the day went:

Early in the morning, James and a friend went to get the cow. It was raised pretty well. Most cows here graze on whatever they can find, which isn’t much this time of year. They’re organic and grass fed, but they could be fed more . . . Our cow was actually fed and it was young, so it’s meat wasn’t so tough.

We hired a butcher to come butcher the cow, which he did very well and humanely. Then James sold the parts we didn’t want (head, guts, etc . . .) to a neighbor while a friend split the beef into types of cut. Then the kitchen crew (including me) weighed, cut, ground, and packaged the meat. I was really grossed out at the beginning of this part, but I’m proud to say I managed.

That evening we ate smoked ribs at one of the other family’s homes. They even made a meat smoker contraption! I made a barbecue sauce for the ribs that turned out really well. I had never made barbecue sauce before, but I’m always up for a cooking challenge. The sauce was good, but probably not worth the effort if you’re in the U.S., where you could just order Gates sauce from Kansas City or Rudy’s sauce from Austin, Texas. I’m sure there are good bbq sauces available at grocery stores too, I just don’t know what they’re called.

The next day I made broth from the beef scraps and bones. I learned that the longer you simmer the bones in the broth, the more goodness you get out of them – good flavor, texture, and nutrients. I simmered the broth for about 15 hours with onion, carrots, and some spices.

After you make broth, you’re supposed to let it cool so that the fat solidifies on the top and can be removed. I saved this fat, melted it, strained it, and simmered it until the water was all removed in order to make tallow. I don’t know much about using tallow, but I do know that it makes a great pie crust for chicken pot pie!

So, for the next few months, I will probably be posting a lot of recipes including beef and beef broth. I hope my vegetarian readers won’t mind. Don’ worry, there will still be vegetarian recipes in the future. Continue reading

Mongolian Dumplings

The last time we were away, our friend from Mongolia watched our house and our cat for us. When we came, we were happy to find that the cat and the house were fine, but we never expected to find food waiting for us! She made these dumplings and also something sort of like empanadas. The dumplings were frozen and I thought they were tortellini, but our friend explained that they were Russian. They tasted more Chinese than Russian to me, but whatever – they’re really good. The filling is a combination of beef and green vegetables. I can’t tell exactly which vegetables, but it tastes like celery leaves, dill, or green onions. We ate these dumplings dipped in soy sauce with ground red pepper. Maybe I could get her to teach me how to make these . . .

Seendat – Lao Barbecue

I’m having a hard time translating “seendat”. It’s inspired by Korean barbecue, so I’ll call it Lao barbecue, but using “barbecue” in this way sort of bothers me. My family is from Texas and Kansas, and to people in that region, barbecue is a very specific way of cooking beef. This dish is not at all what Texans mean when they say “barbeque”.

Maybe I should call this “Lao Grilling”, but Lao people have lots of grilled foods, and this is only one of them. Plus, seendat is not just grilled, it also includes a soup. Continue reading