I walked over to Kalman the other day to get some good quality pork, because I was craving a good braised pork dish after my return from Shillong, but well, no such luck. I was told the pork wasn’t too good. However, just when I was about to turn around, my favorite butcher in the whole wide world told me, “Madam, I do have a few tenderloins which has just come, and is still unsalted. You want?”

Of course, I want! I live for good beef! We scored one which was roughly 2 pounds, and hacked it in half. I came back home, cut up five steaks to be cooked later, and then realized, I had a bit left over, roughly 100 gm. worth, which was leftover after cutting the steaks. I chopped the beef into small pieces, about a centimetre size pieces.  I was, at this point, feeling pretty hungry, so decided to check what was in the pantry and fridge. 
Within a few minutes, I had chopped up 100 gm. button mushrooms, a couple of sticks of celery (I did not throw away the leaves, but chopped them finely and separated them from the celery too!), a small purple onion, and a single stalk of spring onion. Now, the last ingredient you can skip, but trust me, celery is beautiful. Keep the spring onion white parts and celery together.
Now, I used Toban Jian in this dish. For those who are not aware, Toban Jian or Toban Djan is a Chilli Bean Paste which is pretty often used in Sichuan cuisine. I used the brand Lee Kum Kee, which is a Cantonese brand, and well, the only one available here, but I would prefer using what is made by Sichuan Dan Dan Seasoning Co. In case you don’t have it, I would suggest making a rough paste of a few red chillies, a few cloves of garlic, salt and a few blanched fava beans. In case you don’t have fava beans, skip it. The stir fry shall still taste amazing. Make some chilli garlic paste with salt, garlic, chillies, and be done with it. 
Before beginning, realize one thing – you can jolly well omit adding the noodles, and just eat it as a stir fry with rice. But, since I was lazy and did not want to make rice in the middle of the night, I opted for adding noodles. 
After finishing the prep, simultaneously do two things. On one hand, take a large wok, and put it over high heat. On the other hand take a large pan with a lid, and fill it up with 6 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Let the water come to a boil, then drop 150 gm. egg noodles into it, cover the pan with a lid, and turn off the heat.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the wok, and stir in the chopped shallot. After 30 seconds, add the chopped celery and spring onion whites. Stir fry for a minute over high heat, and then add the chopped mushrooms. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes, and then remove from heat. Keep aside.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the wok again and add the chopped beef. Let sit for a minute over high heat. Turn over, and cook for another minute over high heat. Your beef is cooked at this point. 
Add 1 tablespoon Toban Jian to the beef, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and then stir vigorously till the meat is thoroughly coated with the sauce. Stir well, add a dash of vinegar, a dash of Shaoxing wine (optional), and a hefty pinch of pepper.
Introduce the vegetables back in the pan at this point. Now, at this point, you can adjust salt and sugar, maybe add a bit of cornflour slurry to make it into a gravy, then take the dish off heat, and serve with some rice. But, I wanted to make it into a noodle dish, essentially a one-pot meal for dinner.  
So, after draining the noodles, add it to the cooking beef and vegetables, and then top with the chopped celery leaves and spring onion greens. Toss over high heat till everything is well combined. 
Once the noodles is well-coated with the beef mixture, check for seasoning, then take off the heat. Top with more celery leaves and spring onion greens, if you like, and serve. 
Written by Poorna Banerjee

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