I am a person who will spend hours stewing beef & cooking a separate pot of flavourful beef stock to go with it when we can just go to a coffees shop to have a bowl of beef noodle soup ! I believe in a good pot of stock whenever I feel like cooking noodle soup.
At 7.30am, I cut up 1 kg of beef shin into big chunks, blanch in boiling water, place them into a pot with a pc of ginger, 4 star anise, pinch szechuan pepper corns, 8 cloves, 2 chopped onion, garlic,soya sauce (both dark & light), sesame oil, rice wine, sugar, dash of black vinegar *, with enough water to cover the beef chunks, bring to a gentle boil, turn down flame, simmer for 4 hrs. I would normally season when the stew is done, in fact the beef will be so flavourful that maybe an extra dash of soya sauce or more sugar is sufficient, depending on individual taste.
As for the beef stock, I used frozen beef neck bones from Merderka Supermarket, boil the bones for about 5mins to remove excess oil. For about 1.5kg of bones, I would use 3 unpeeled big onions (halved), 10 unpeeled shallots (halved), 1 bulb garlic (top cut off), cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, black peppercorns, 1 big pc ginger (smashed). In a large pot, heat oil till hot, add onions, shallots, garlic, ginger & cook till browned, add cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, black pepper corns, continue cooking till aromatic add the bones & water to cover the bones, boil to boil, turn down heat & let simmer the longer the better, I usually cook my stock for 5-6 hrs. When the stock is done, remove the bones from the pot, strain the soup through a sieve. What I always do is to make the stock a day earlier, refrigerate & remove the layer of fat on top of the soup that has hardened the next day.
Bring the stock to boil again & season to taste.
We usually have our beef stew with noodle or kway teow, served with vegies & the beef stock. I added some beef balls to the soup today, got them from the provision shop in Dah Yeh(next to Lotus), these balls are from Tenom, very crunchy but a bit too salty for us.
* I read from a newspaper last Sunday about stewing beef that we should cut the beef into bigger chunks so the meat juice will be retained in it after long hours of stewing, too small a pc the beef will break apart. Keep the simmering heat constant, turning up the flame will only harden the beef. Add a dash of black vinegar to help tenderise the beef while stewing. I tried that today, the beef did turn out so tender & moist, without breaking apart, wonderful !