Best made a day ahead, this traditional Taiwanese braised beef noodle soup is bursting with flavor from its plentiful aromatics and sauces. It is reminiscent of the noodle soup dish that’s popular all across Taiwan, especially at its night markets.
- 2 T. oil
- 1.5–2 lbs of boneless beef shank, cut into 1-inch chunks
Aromatics/Spices (Combine first five in an herb bag or disposable tea bag OR use a mesh strainer in step 4 instead)
- 1/2 T. Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 dried orange peels
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 7 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 1-inch pieces of fresh ginger
- 2 dried or fresh large red or green Thai chilies, slit
- 1/8 cup tomato paste
- 2 T. dark brown sugar
- 1 T. La Doubanjiang (Sichuan chili bean paste)
- 1 cup Shaoxing cooking wine
- 3 T. dark soy sauce
- 1/4–1/2 cup light soy sauce (Use 1/2 if you want a saltier sauce, I typically use between 1/4 and 1/2)
- 1 T. soy paste
- 2 lbs cooked thick Asian noodles
- Bok choy, lightly blanched (Or another leafy green)
- Scallions for garnish
- Chili Oil (optional, for added heat)
- Pickled Mustard Greens (optional topping)
- Brown Beef: In a large stock pot, heat 1 T. oil on medium high heat. Cook your beef in two batches. Add in half the beef and brown on each side, around 3-4 min on one side. Stir occasionally to ensure beef is fully and evenly browned. Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining beef chunks and set those aside as well. Beef does not have to be fully cooked inside.
- Sauté with aromatics and add water: In the now empty stock pot, heat 1 more T. of oil. Add the garlic cloves, ginger, and dried or fresh Thai chilies. Sauté for a minute or until fragrant. Add tomato paste, breaking it up with your wooden spoon. Add dark brown sugar and Doubanjiang (Sichuan chili bean paste). Add 1 T. water here if the mixture is getting too dry or starting to burn.
- Mix all ingredients: Add the beef back to the pot and stir-fry to incorporate the beef with the aromatics. Pour in the Shaoxing rice wine. Add your herb bag filled with the peppercorns, orange peels, star anise, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. If you don’t have herb bags on hand, you can use a mesh strainer later to remove these from the broth. Add 3T. dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup (for a saltier taste) of light soy sauce, 1 T. soy paste and 9 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer on low for 3 hours or until the beef is tender. Mine is usually done somewhere between 2.5-3 hours. It really depends on how much beef you have.
- Strain broth: Remove beef pieces from the broth and use a mesh strainer or colander to remove the ginger, garlic, peppercorns, orange peels, star anise, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick. If you used an herb bag, just remove the entire bag. I tend to strain the broth anyways to remove other stray solids or impurities.
- Defat: Add the beef back in. Let the mixture cool, and refrigerate overnight. Using a spoon, skim off the fat on top the next day.
- Assemble and serve: Ladle the broth and beef out into large soup bowls. Add thick noodles and bok choy or your leafy green of choice. Garnish with scallions and add chili oil (optional) for extra heat. Serve with pickled mustard greens as well (optional). This is best assembled right before serving. Store any leftover noodles and bok choy separately from the broth in the fridge.
Keywords: Braised, Beef, Noodle Soup, Taiwanese, Asian, Main, Dinner, Meat, Comfort Food, Taiwan