The Naughty Cook loves nothing better than a meal that can be prepared at one end of the day, left to cook all day in a slow cooker, and then served up with the minimum of effort at the end of the day. This is one such recipe, delivering all the tender juicy flavour you could desire after a hard day’s work.
- 1 lb 2 ounces / 500g stewing steak
- 21 fluid ounces / 600ml / 2½ cups / beef stock
- 4 fluid ounces / 125ml / ½ cup Chinese rice wine
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
- 1½ teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce 
- a pinch of Szechuan pepper
- 5½ ounces / 150g thin Chinese egg noodles
- 1 inch / 2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger
- 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
- 4 spring onions (scallions)
- coriander leaves
Cut the steak into cubes.
Crush the garlic.
Grate the ginger.
Put the beef, beef stock, rice wine, crushed garlic, grated ginger, star anise, chilli flakes, sugar, cumin, soy sauce, and Szechuan pepper in a slow cooker and stir well.
Cover the cooker and cook on the low setting for 9½ hours.
Remove the beef from the cooker and wrap in foil, setting aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, switch the cooker to the high setting, replace the cover, and continue to cook what’s left in there for a further 15 minutes.
Then, stir in the noodles, re-cover, and cook for a further 15 minutes until the noodles are tender.
Shred the beef and keep warm.
When the noodles are cooked, stir the beef back into the slow cooker, mixing it in with the noodles.
Add the sesame seed oil.
Finely shop the spring onions (scallions).
Serve out the beef onto plates and scatter the spring onions (scallions) and coriander leaves over the top.
I prefer to add the grated ginger at the beginning but you can save this until the end, grating the ginger directly into the beef and noodles when you are adding the sesame oil.
The modern slow cooker derives its inspiration from the needs of the Jewish community to create meals without actually working on the Sabbath day. Many Jewish families developed recipes such as a bean-based stew called cholent which was very popular with the communities in Lithuania. The man who patented the first modern slow cooker was Irving Naxon who applied for a US patent in 1936. He got the idea from his Lithuanian Jewish grandmother, Tamara Kaslovski Nachumsohn, who told him about the slow-cooked bean stews they used to make in their old bakery back home. Naxon’s Beanery, as the first gadget was called, was designed to cook such a recipe. In the 1970s, Naxon sold his design to Rival Manufacturing who rebranded it as the Crock Pot. It was now marketed to the changed social needs of mothers who went out to work but still had to put a meal on the family dinner table at the end of the day.