Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup | Recipe
Where’s the beef?
Taiwanese beef noodle soup is to Taiwan what pizza is to NYC or pasta to Italy. It’s the life blood of Taiwan, you can find it everywhere in Taipei. Even in NYC we haven’t found a Taiwanese beef noodle soup we love, there are varying ways to make this dish. I prefer it to be light, not too salty, and love star anise. In Taiwan, any given shopping mall will have 5 or 6 Taiwanese beef noodle soups stalls…all next to each other. When we visit Taipei, you know this is one of the first things my grandmother is making for my dad. He grew up on this shit, while I only got to experience my grandma’s homemade magic every four years. This soup can be intimidating, there’s a lot of spices and time that go into it, BUT it’s one of our favorite dishes. When we make it at home we can eat it for a few days—it’s seriously magic on a rainy day, or any day. This dish takes me back to my grandmother’s tiny (very hot) kitchen in Taiwan, I had to coordinate with several relatives about this recipe, because you know no one ever measures anything and my dad thinks that 2 to-go soy sauce packets are a normal measurement in cooking (good enough lol). The last time I was in Taiwan, my grandmother whipped up this soup and 7 other dishes. Then she had to go lie down and nap, but demanded the rest of us ate while she slept. At 94, she’s still hustlin’ #HuangsWorld
Taiwanese beef noodle soup is a dish you should explore the flavors and make it your own memory, play with the seasonings, the broth. Do you like more cinnamon or less, more soy sauce, mirin? We hope you make this dish as special to you as it is to us.
Portion One (stir fry):
3 pieces of beef shank cut into pieces or 4-5 beef bones and 1 lb stewing beef
2 tbsp oil + 2 tbsp oil
3 scallions chopped in long segments
6 slices of ginger
1 medium onion chopped into quarters
a pinch of sugar
a whole garlic, cloves smashed open
1 tomato chopped into quarters
4-5 dried chilis broken apart (depending on your spice level)
Portion Two (stir fry 2):
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp spicy bean paste (douban jiang)
2 tsp sugar (my grandmother uses rock sugar, but granulated is also ok)
1/2 cup shaoxing wine
Portion Three (soup time):
8 cups of water + 2-3 cups of additional water
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup Spice Packet (you can buy pre-assembled at an Asian store), I prefer to make my own:
1/2 Chinese cinnamon stick
3-4 dry bay leaves
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1/4 tsp of black pepper
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
5 star anise
2/3 cup soy sauce
pinch of curry powder
2/3 cup rice wine
1 chopped carrot
Portion Four (toppings—the finish line):
Chopped cilantro & scallions to top
Pickled cabbage - you can buy these pre-made at an Asian grocery store.
- It also can be an acquired taste, so try it before dumping it on your soup!
1. Heat up 2 tbsp oil in a wok, toss in your cut beef (not the bone portion) until lightly seared. Set aside.
2. Toss in another 2 tbsp of oil in your wok and add in ginger, sugar, and garlic. After a minute or two add in the scallions and onions. Stir occasionally.
3. Once the onions have caramelized and turned to translucent, add the tomato and dried chilis to the wok.
4. Start boiling your water in a separate large stock pot, add in your beef bones. Boil for a few minutes and skim the fat off the top and throw away. Then add in your spice packet (homemade or premade) to the water.
5. Add your meat and everything from Portion Two to the wok. Saute for a couple of minutes.
6. Take everything from the wok and add to to your stock pot of spiced water.
7. Turn your pot to a low simmer and add in the soy sauce, curry powder, & chopped carrot. Cover and simmer for two hours.
8. Check your soup after two hours, add in the additional 2-3 cups of water (all of the ingredients should be fully submerged in soup). Simmer for an additional 30 minutes to an hour depending on how tough your beef still is.
9. Boil some water in a small pot and cook your noodles as per the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
10. Add in bok choy to your soup and cook for a 2-3 minutes, turning up the heat slightly. Remove star anise and cinnamon stick from the stock pot.
11. Create a bowl adding in your noodles and top with scallions, cilantro and pickled cabbage (if desired). Save any leftovers!!