Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Slowly simmered beef short ribs yield a deep, richly spiced, flavorful broth to accompany wheat noodles and crunchy fresh vegetables.

Very popular throughout China, beef noodle soup (niu rou mian) is sold with many varying recipes both as a small side portion or as a complete one-dish meal. It is especially favored in Taiwan, where it is considered a national dish and sold by street vendors dressed with various toppings such as dried tofu or seaweed, chopped vegetables and pickled condiments.

This version is one known as a “red” beef noodle soup with the inclusion of soy sauce, and here is rather simply spiced. Other elements can be added to taste and heat preference such as doubanjiang or five-spice powder using this basic version as a start. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth for the best clarity and appearance.

Finishing vegetables can include almost anything from bok choy, mung bean sprouts, mustard greens, spinach or broccolini. Any Asian wheat or soba noodles will also work, and egg noodles or even spaghetti can substitute if necessary.

Garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro or pickled cabbage (suan cai).

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

1¼ lb beef short ribs
4 green onions
2-in piece of ginger
4 cloves of garlic
2 Thai chile peppers
1 tomato
1 white onion
1 carrot
½ lb baby bok choy
8 oz wheat noodles
1 T Chinese bean paste
¼ c soy sauce
10 c water
1 T mirin
2 star anise
1 orange
peanut oil
black peppercorns

1 Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the short ribs for 5 min, then rinse and cool. Discard the water.

2 Peel and roughly chop the ginger and garlic. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Cut the white stalks off the green onions (reserve the green portions).

3 Sauté the ginger, garlic, chiles and onion stems in oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 2-3 min.

4 Roughly chop the tomato, white onion and carrot. Add and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 min.

5 Deglaze the pot with the mirin and soy sauce. Stir in the bean paste.

6 Add the water, short ribs, spices and peel from the orange. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 hrs. Skim the broth, as necessary.

7 Remove the short ribs and strain the broth. When cool, pick the cooked beef off the ribs and discard the solids.

8 Return the broth to the heat and bring to a simmer. Add the beef, then roughly chop the bok choy and add for just a few minutes to lightly cook through.

9 Thinly chop the reserved green onions and add to the pot. Season to taste, and serve over cooked noodles.


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