There is a Chinese restaurant along Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City, with a branch along Banawe Street in Quezon City, that we used to frequent before we moved to the suburbs. Not so accessible anymore so I miss the food. It was my husband who introduced us to the place. His department used to hold business lunches at the Mandaluyong branch which was very near their old office building. After one of those lunches, he decided to order a “take-out”. He called me up to say don’t bother cooking dinner as he was bringing home something really good. That was the first time the kids and I tried “Fiesta Noodles”. We were frequent customers in both branches after that.
Having tried the noodle dish so many times before, I had a very good idea of how it should be prepared. But I never tried until last night. The restaurant recipe uses broccoli leaves. Since they are not always available, I had to settle for pechay (Chinese cabbage or pei tsai). The original recipe also included another meat topping–a very spicy braised pork. It always stood out because red food coloring was used on the meat. The reddish tint as well as the spiciness would find their way into the noodles. I thought about replicating the dish in the same manner but I had no idea how the spicy pork was prepared. Of course, I could have experimented but I figured, why bother, the kids wouldn’t touch them anyway. Perhaps, I should have bothered because my husband asked where the spicy pork was. At any rate, the moment we started eating, he forgot all about the spicy pork. The siomai (dumplings), beef, chicken, and my special asado sauce more than made up for it.
Prepare the beef asado: Boil the brisket with the rest of the ingredients except the cornstarch, removing scum as it rises. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until tender. Add more water if necessary as you will need 2 c. of the sauce by the end of cooking time. Transfer the meat to a plate and cool completely. Strain the sauce and pour into a small saucepan. Pour 1/2 c. of the sauce into a small cup, cool for a few minutes, and disperse the cornstarch in it. Boil the sauce and pour in the cornstarch mixture, stirring until thick. Set aside.
When cool, cut the beef into 1/8″ thick slices.
Prepare the dumplings: Mix all the ingredients and place a teaspoonful at the center of each wonton wrapper. Wet the edges and gather to seal. For a more detailed discussion, see the siomai recipe. Steam the dumplings for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not remove it from the steamer to keep it warm. Prepare the chicken: Chop each thigh into two pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the cooking oil in a wok until smoking. Add the chicken pieces and cook over high heat until light brown. Add the garlic and onions and continue cooking for another minute. Add 3 c. of water. Bring to a boil. Add more salt and pepper to flavor the broth. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Keep warm.
Prepare the peachy and noodles: Cut off the tips (roots end) of the peachy. Lower into the simmering chicken broth and cook for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a serving platter. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the noodles to the broth. Cook for 2 minutes. The broth should have mostly evaporated at this point. To assemble: Arrange the pechay leaves on the serving platter. Place the noodles over them. Arrange the toppings: the beef asado slices and chicken thighs on either side and the siomai along the center. Pour the asado sauce over them. Serve hot.