I’ve been keeping a stash of frozen chunks of leftover beef for a couple of months, thinking that I’d use it for a Sichuan-style spicy beef noodle soup. A brow-wiper for cooler months. While driving home from Los Angeles last week, my husband said, “I’d love some Chinese beef noodle soup.” We obviously had a food mind meld. It was exactly cold in Santa Cruz but what the heck. I had the meat. After we settled back into our house, I retrieved the beef – chuck and cross-rib roasts saved from the pho workshops that I taught earlier this year. The pieces were oddball shapes and sizes but who cared? They’d be cut into small chunks anyway.
They thawed overnight in the fridge and I made this Sichuan-style noodle soup the next morning for lunch. It’s a variation on recipe in Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain of Rice. What I like is the combination of beef with tofu and Sichuan chile bean sauce (dou ban jiang). Similar ingredients are used for solid renditions of mapo tofu but here, the beef is cooked with dried sticks of tofu skin, which resemble nunchucks.