Chinese Beef Rolls (Niu Rou Jian Bing)
Serves 4 – Adapted from Goodies à Valanté
Red chiles and pinto beans find their way into this northern Chinese street food that is assembled like a burrito.
Note: Make the bean paste and beef filling a day ahead. The beef gets better the longer it sits and soaks up all the flavors.
Sweet pinto bean paste
- 1 cup dried pinto beans
- 4 cups water, divided, or as needed
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 pounds beef shank
- 2 whole black cardamom pods
- 3 scallions, ends removed, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 thumb ginger, sliced
- 3 dried hot red chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/3 cup rice wine
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3/4 tablespoon rock sugar
- Hot water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 4 scallions, cut in thin slices
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Sweet pinto bean paste
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 bok choy, thinly sliced
- Favorite hot sauce
- Prepared beef filling
For the bean paste, place beans in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and discard water. Place drained beans in a clean saucepan and cover with 2–3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 2 hours, adding more water as needed, until beans are soft and can be crushed between your fingers. Drain beans and discard water. Stir beans and sugar together in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and beans form a loose, shiny paste. Immediately transfer the paste to a container to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat a large, oven-safe pot with oil. Add garlic, scallions, dried chiles, star anise, cardamom, peppercorn, cinnamon, rock sugar, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add rice wine, dark and light soy sauce, beef shank, salt, and add just enough hot water to cover the beef shank. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let meat rest for 5 minutes. Stir liquid through a fat seperator. Slice meat thinly and place in bowl with remaining liquid and refrigerate overnight.
For the pancake, mix flour and water in a bowl until it comes together, then knead the dough until smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Roll out to a 1/4 inch thick rectangular shape, spread a thin layer of vegetable shortening on top, and sprinkle with salt and scallions. Roll up the dough and pull as tightly as possible from the longest side, until it forms a sausage. Divide into four pieces; seal each end. Roll each piece into a pinwheel and let rest for 5 minutes. Flatten the pinwheel by hand and roll out into a disk, as thin as possible. The dough may stick a little but it should be workable. Use a bit of oil, not flour, to prevent sticking, if necessary.
Heat a large pan with oil on medium high heat and cook the pancakes until golden on each side. About 1 minute per side.
To serve, spread 1/2 tablespoon bean paste on a pancake, top with warm beef slices, bok choy, cilantro, and hot sauce, and roll up. Repeat with remaining pancakes.
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