Sydnie’s Taiwanese Stew

25 Feb

Photo taken in Micah & Sydnie’s apt in Tokyo. Best feast.

So I am eating this while I write, and I just have to say this is the most satisfying, delicious, comforting, filling yet surprisingly light stew ever.  While I was in Japan, I had the pleasure of staying with Micah and his girlfriend Sydnie- best hosts ever.  The last day we were there, Sydnie made us this stew.  I was a little wary- because I had never been into hardboiled eggs- but this has pretty much changed my egg-eating life.  Before, I only ate scrambled– now any kind– poached, fried, soft boiled– throw my way.  The thing I like to do eating this stew- is break apart the egg and then the yolk thickens the broth in the most delicious way possible.  This is a Sydnie family recipe- so she just intuits and varies it a little all the time.  But, she gracefully quantified it for me and it came out spot on!

Let’s talk about the ingredients- some of which you might not already have in your cabinet.  The first- the vegetable in here is daikon.  Daikon is like a big long radish- kinda looks like a giant white carrot.  I thought I would have trouble finding it- but when you are looking for it- you notice it everywhere- grocery stores and asian groceries.  And the thing is, you simmer it for so long with the stew that it- along with the eggs- take on the flavor (and color) of the broth.  I knew the daikon was done when it was colored throughout.  It was pretty easy to find 5 -spice too- which is a Chinese blend of spices- with sort of a hint of cinnamon overtones on the nose (ha!). Last is anise star.  Anise has that vaguely licorice flavor- like fennel does- but don’t let that scare you off.  And these stars are just beautiful.  If you can’t find it- you will be fine without.  You put the anise star and ginger slices in– like you would a bay leaf– then you take out when you are done.  This stew is a little hard to get around to making because it simmers for hours- but I am telling you that it is way worth it.  And it is actually super easy.  Leftovers are amazing- and they freeze well (freeze w. out eggs).  It is traditional, Sydnie says, to include the frozen in the next batch- enriches the flavor.  You could also make this with pork.   Char Bar– if you have read this far- you have to make it- because I know you have those spices already- and you’d be way into it.  Serve w. brown rice.  And I got to tell you, I had know idea how to make hardboiled eggs so after 6 eggs gone to waste, I got it down- and have included instructions for you.  And the rice too- because maybe it’s silly- but I always end up looking it up on ehow.

6-8 hard boiled eggs (2 per serving)
1 pound stew beef- cut in chunks
two 1/2 inch slices of fresh ginger- peeled
6-7 green onions (or scallions)
daikon, peel and chop into chunks [the daikon in japan was enormous- only needed one- but the one i found here smaller- so I used two)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 anise star
sugar cubes (small handful- 1/4 cup?) or I used 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoon five star spice

serve w. brown rice (i used short grain)
1 cup rice
2 cups water

Hard boil eggs.  Place eggs in a saucepan.  Add enough water to about an inch above eggs.  Cover pot. Bring to boil. Turn off heat. Do not open, let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Put eggs to cool in a bowl of cold water.  Then tap lightly against side of sink to start to peel.
Place meat in bottom of a big pot/stockpot/dutch oven. Add enough water to cover meat.  Bring to boil.  Then take off heat and pour out water.  With just beef in the pot, add 1/2 cup soy sauce and then add enough water to just cover the meat with a little extra.  Add anise and ginger stars.  Add five star. Add sugar.  Add green onion.  Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for a couple (3) hours.  45 minutes [or I’d say more like an hour] before you want to eat, add daikon.  Taste test to see when done- daikon should be tender and fully colored by soy sauce in the middle.  Additional salt to taste, if needed.
Brown rice.  Rinse rice (yes, do this).  Add rice and water to saucepan. Cover. Bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 50 minutes.  Turn off heat (do not open!) and let sit for 10 minutes.


4 Responses to “Sydnie’s Taiwanese Stew”

  1. rew February 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    This looks very yummy. I hope you will make it for me sometime. I promise to eat it and like it.

  2. Char Bar February 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    So into this. In there like swimwear.


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    […] it w. Sydnie’s Taiwanese stew- still my Favorite winter dish. And sautéed the daikon greens in miso butter. […]

  2. Amazing(ly) Simple Roast Chicken | Snacko Backo - April 1, 2013

    […] it most places- or you can mix up your own (which I once did in a pinch in Andorra to make some of Sydnie’s Taiwanese stew.) Other than that, I was mostly faithful to Thomas Keller’s method. One super genius move- […]

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