“What do you do with turnip?” Katinka asked me. “I don’t know.” I said “I never cook with turnip. I guess you could mash it with potatoes and make pommes duchesse with it.”.
Then I remembered the dinner Xingfeng Huang cooked for me and my wife five years ago. He cooked many different dishes and I didn’t remember exactly but some things I recalled. He made meat with ginger, garlic and star anise. He told me that he used many strong flavours to mask the flavour of the meat because in the region of China where he is from, people don’t like the flavour of meat. I also remembered a dish with strips of white/yellow vegetable. Potato or turnip but it might just as well have been cabbage. Flavoured with ginger. I thought of these flavours when I came up with this dish. I am sure it isn’t Chinese at all. I used Dutch beer and I suspect I flavoured to Dutch taste rather than to Chinese taste. However, it certainly is my taste.
1 big leek (only the white part)
1 (leftover) scallion (leave out if you don’t have one)
2 teaspoons of honey or sugar
250 g beef, diced. Any part that requires 3 hours simmering will do.
1 green chilli pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 bottle of beer (I used Hertog Jan)
2 tablespoons Kikkoman less sodium soy sauce.
2 teaspoons roasted garlic (or use chopped garlic from a jar)
2 pieces of star anise
Make a marinade of soy sauce, roasted garlic and star anise. Add the diced beef and set aside to mind its own business.
Pre-heat the oven at 150ºC. Grate the green chilli and a piece of garlic the size of your thumb. Take a pan that is you can use in the oven and put it on the hob. Put some oil into the pan and fry the ginger and chilli for half a minute. Add the tomato puree and fry for another minute. Then add the beer, the meat and the marinade. Leave it on the hob for a little while to warm it through but you don’t have to bring it to the boil. Put a lid on the pan and place the pan in the oven. After two, two and a half hours, check how tender the meat is and if necessary, give it another half hour or so. Once the meat is almost falling apart, take the pan from the oven and let it rest for half an hour with the lid on.
While you are waiting for the meat to cook, peel the turnip and cut it into slices a little smaller than McDonald’s french fries. Also slice the leek and scallion and grate another half-thumb of ginger.
Put a big splash of water (100 ml or so, no need to take out a measuring cup) in a pan and stir in the honey. Wash the leek and add the leek, scallion and turnip to the pan. Put a lid on the pan and gently cook for half an hour or until the turnip is soft. You can prepare this and wait with cooking until you take the meat from the oven to rest.
Check the package of the noodles for cooking instructions. Time it so that the noodles are done just after the turnip is ready to be served.
Drain the noodles and put them in serving bowls. Scoop the meat and sauce over the noodles. Put the turnips on top.