Malaysian Beef brisket noodles

Malaysian beef brisket noodles

I am getting a little fussy when seeking out good Malaysian food these days. There is a proliferation of Malaysian eateries in Sydney recently serving the usual hawker style Malaysian food.

Having grown up in Malaysia, I love Malaysian food because it is tasty and offers a wide variety of dishes that is a culmination of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences that have made some of these flavours uniquely “Malaysian”.

I owe my culinary skills and the immense enjoyment I get from cooking to my mother, who in turn, developed her skills in the kitchen from her mother. There were no cookbooks or elaborate recipes when I began to develop a love for cooking.

My grandmmother and my mother on her wedding day

My grandmmother and my mother on her wedding day

Just by observing my late grandmother and my mother in the kitchen, I managed to pick up some of the most basic rudiments of cooking and through the years, I have enjoyed experimenting with beautiful ingredients, cooking techniques and having good friends as guinea pigs for my musings.

So, when it comes to Malaysian food at home, I love cooking dishes which are a little more difficult to find in Malaysian restaurants. A good yong tow foo or Ipoh hor fun is much harder to track down than a nasi lemak or curry laksa in most Malaysian restaurants. So to me, there is no point in trying to replicate a char kway teow or chai tow kway at home when the fiery commercial wok burners at restaurants will invariable do a better job, irrespective of cooking skills.

In search of something different in Sydney, my mother urged me to cook Malaysian style beef brisket noodles one day.

“It’s so simple and I’m sure you’ll love it”, she tells me over the phone.

With just a handful of ingredients and some simple instructions from her, I set out to try this dish and since then, it has become one of my favourite comfort dishes at home, especially in autumn and winter.

To me, this dish is Malaysia’s answer to Italy’s spaghetti bolognaise.

Malaysian Beef brisket noodles

Raw beef brisket from Asian butchers

Raw beef brisket from Asian butchers

Beef brisket can usually be found in Asian butchers where they have been neatly rolled up and cling-wrapped.

Alternatively, request the butcher to trim off excess fat and sinew from a fresh slab of brisket.

I love cooking with brisket because it is flavoursome. Not only is it relatively cheap because it is considered an off-cut, it’s texture demands that you treat it with a little love, like slow-braising it to bring out all the flavours.

Trim excess fat and cut beef brisket cross-wise into small, thick strips

Trim excess fat and cut beef brisket cross-wise into small, thick strips

I have found that cooking these cuts of meat in a sturdy cast iron pot retains all its flavours. In addition, it requires less cooking time and it saves energy because you only need the heat to be at its lowest level as the pot does a great job in retaining heat consistently through the entire braising process.

Braise beef brisket with ginger, star anise, cinammon, cloves in cast iron pot

Braise beef brisket with ginger, star anise, cinammon, cloves in cast iron pot

The most important thing to remember in this recipe is to first cut the meat crosswise and against the grain (as opposed to lengthwise and with the grain).

This ensure the texture of the meat breaks-down more easily so the result is tender and succulent pieces of brisket rather than chewy strains of meat.

Once the meat is on the boil, turn down the heat to the lowest level and start enjoying the wonderful aromas of cinnamon, star anise and cloves from the stove.

Drizzle dark caramel black sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil onto serving plates

Drizzle dark caramel black sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil onto serving plates

I love doing my own take of artwork with a drizzle of dark caramel black sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil on the serving plates.

Take 1: My own variation of Jackson Pollock's work of art

Take 1: My own variation of Jackson Pollock's work of art

This step is a Malaysian style of serving short soup noodles where the flavours from these sauces are absorbed by the hot steaming noodles that are placed on top of the sauces.

Take 2: My own variation of Jackson Pollock's work of art

Take 2: My own variation of Jackson Pollock's work of art

I can never resist chowing down on a few piece of tender and succulent beef brisket after about an hour or braising.

Soft and tender beef brisket after just one hour

Soft and tender beef brisket after just one hour

The flavours of star anise, cinnamon and cloves, together with fresh ginger, white pepper, oyster sauce and a dash of Shao Xing wine makes this dish truly remarkable.

Malaysian Beef brisket noodles

Malaysian Beef brisket noodles

This is one Malaysian dish that has eluded many Malaysian restaurants in Australia.  To me, it is simple to cook and beef brisket is relatively cheap and tasty. When slow braised with beautiful herbs and spices, it will taste even better the next day.

One can get a variation of this dish in Hong Kong style noodles restaurants but I am surprised that most Malaysian restaurants have not offered this dish and are still trying to outdo each other with their own take of the usual suspects of nasi lemak and laksa.

Malaysian Beef brisket noodles

Malaysian Beef brisket noodles

In many ways, this dish is all about textures. I love the succulent and stringy pieces of beef with its slightly chewy slice of brisket.

The wonton noodles do a great job in soaking up all the braised sauce to make this one of my favourite winter dishes.

So Malaysian restaurants, why have you not considered serving this beautiful dish to your customers?

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47 Responses to Malaysian Beef brisket noodles

  1. Love a good tender brisket! Also, very nice saucy artwork you’ve got there, and I see that there are some attractive genes running in the family. ;)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear leaf,

      Everytime I cook this dish, I love to have fun making beautiful patterns with those sauces :)

  2. Oh you’re making my mouth water! And you know I have tried so many times to make a good char kway teow but perhaps I should heed your advice and give up on it as I probably won’t be able to do it at home :(

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Lorraine,

      I think there are a few good char kway teow in Malaysian restaurants around Sydney these days.

  3. Charles says:

    I bet that brisket is fantastic, and it’s great to see uses for Star Anise – I bought some a while ago and never got around to using it!

    Your mother looks beautiful on her wedding day, Chopinand!

  4. tigerfish says:

    The sauce condiments on the serving plate just before the noodles and brisket hit the plates may just well be the trick to delicious hawker-style food! Well, at least this is how some hawkers do it.

  5. Great looking dish. I love Malaysian food, it’s full of fresh flavours. GG

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear GG,

      I think Malaysian food certainly has some great flavours because of its cross-cultural blend of ingredients and cooking styles.

  6. irene says:

    Oooh so mouthwatering! My mom make beef noodles a lot at home but she uses minced beef :)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear irene,

      I sometimes make another version of beef noodles with beef balls and mince pork :) Really delicious noodles.

  7. celia says:

    Oh, that looks divine. I could do with a bowl for lunch, do you deliver? :)

  8. Your version of brisket sounds delicious. I love and make brisket often but never this way. I will be sure to try it with these wonderful ingredients.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Vicki,

      I think this is a great way to cook brisket because the meat becomes so tender with the braise.

  9. Kimby says:

    Beef Brisket is a popular meat here (Oklahoma), but it’s generally cooked “whole” on a smoker (for 10 to 12 hours), then sliced very thinly. I can imagine how much more tender it is with small chunks braised like you demonstrated! Your artwork at the bottom of the bowl is too pretty to cover up, too, but the prospect of the flavors soaking into the noodles is a good reason to do so! I hope a few restaurants take you up on your suggestion!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Kimby,

      I would love to try smoked brisket too and I can imagine how tender and flavoursome it would be, especially after being smoked for so many hours. The artwork does make the noodles more delicious too :)

  10. msihua says:

    I agree with the number of Malaysian places popping up.. it seems that way too in Melbourne.. and your mum looks so pretty!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear msihua,

      Looks like one of Sydney’s prominent Malaysian restaurant is heading down to Melbourne too!

  11. Thiws looks so delicious. I wonder why no one makes this?

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear tania,

      Yes, I have not seen it in any Malaysian restaurant but I am happy to cook it at home whenever the crave comes.

  12. Raymund says:

    One of my favourite noodle dish of all time. Your one looks good

  13. Winston says:

    Oh man… Another GREAT recipe, Chopin! You’re really whetting my appetites with all these simple, delicious Malaysian comfort food. I can’t think of a better time to make this now that it’s getting cold… Thanks! And your Mum sounds like a really great cook =]

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Winston,

      This is definitely one of my favourite noodle dishes in winter and the beef brisket can be eaten with steamed rice too.

  14. mum makes this in winter as well! she also puts white radish in too

  15. JasmyneTea says:

    This recipe is really interesting, I would have never thought to pair brisket with noodles! Then again, I’m not very familiar with Malaysian cuisine. Looks good!

  16. Great recipe! Some things just taste better when they’re made at home.

    Here’s a fun fact… I won 3rd Place in the South Dakota State Fair Brisket Cooking Competition in 2004. I was 23 and I’d never cooked brisket before in my life! Have never cooked it since, actually. Maybe your recipe will finally end my Brisket-Drought!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear SarahKate,

      That’s pretty impressive of you to have won a brisket cooking competition. I’m sure you would cook up a beautiful brisket dish of your own style too!

  17. Chopinand- This is an amazing looking dish. I lovwe that it is rather unique. It is a wonderful recipe to have in your repetoire and thank you for the tip about clicing the meat against the grain.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Anna,

      I am happy to have added this dish to my list of cooking favourites. Best thing is that it really is a pretty simple and delicious recipe.

  18. Hi Chopinand! Sorry I’ve been MIA latey and finally got to make a comment (but saw your update earlier). I find cooking Asian noodles so difficult, yet you succeeded to make my mouth water and my tummy hungry!! Such a delicious meal. Your culinary talent came from your grandma and mom! They must be an exceptional cook!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Nami,

      You have some beautiful Japanese noodle dishes in your repertoire too and I’m sure you would have gotten some of your cooking genes from your family and grandfather too :)

  19. Juliana says:

    Beautiful picture of you mom…very precious!
    Now…you made me laugh at the Pollock’s art hehehe, because I was wondering where all the art would go…at the end it was covered with the beef brisket…which looks delicious, so flavorful with cinnamon, cloves and star anise.
    Thanks for this recipe and hope you are having a wonderful week Chopinand :)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Juliana,

      I love having fun trying to do some Pollock impersonation but it does make the noodles more tasty though.

  20. sugarpuffi says:

    the brisket looks really delicious! i just had some at DTF 2days ago lol~such a nice winter warmer

  21. Like you, I have learned most of my cooking from my mom, and the rest by just doing and trying things out. :) Still, my mom’s cooking styles turned out to be very different, probably because I’ve lived on my own for 10 years, and that’s a lot of time for development and change.

    I love that you used star anise and cinnomon for flavoring the meat. Those spices are perfect for a hearty and warming meat dish! :)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Kath,

      I’m glad I learnt some of the basic cooking skills from my mum because it has enabled me to adapt to other cooking styles and experimenting with combining different ingredients too. I love the combination of star anise and cinnamon because the aromas are so beautiful.

  22. Sissi says:

    There is not a single Malaysian restaurant in my city (or maybe even in whole Switzerland…), so Malaysian food means for me only what I can cook at home from a small cookery book or most of all what I admire on my friends’ blogs (actually I often mix up in my head Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine…). This beef dish looks extraordinary and as soon as I saw star anise, I knew I would love it. Thank you for sharing this family photo with us. Your mother and grandmother are both so beautiful!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Sissi,

      I guess it would be pretty rare to have a Malaysian restaurant all the way in Switzerland and even if there are, I’m not sure if some of the Asian ingredients can be readily available too. If I lived in Europe, I think I would want to cook all the best European dishes. :)

  23. InTolerant says:

    Oh this does look good indeed! Those sauces would add that little extra touch as well, yummo!

  24. Carolyn Jung says:

    These beefy noodles look fabulous. What an incredible gift your Mom gave you by teaching you how to make this incredible dish.

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