Sunday, April 24, 2011

Recipe Sharing: Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

I thought some of you might be interested in the soup I made the other day, so here is the recipe. Just to make it clear, we had to translate this recipe the first time I made it from one written in Mandarin, so it is not 100% authentic, but it is tasty.

This soup is the only thing I know how to make from Taiwan so far, but I hope to learn more! I want to make 3-cup Chicken next.

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup with Pickled Sour Mustard Cabbage


For soup:
2 tetra packs of Beef Stock**
Chinese cooking wine
Approx. 1lb beef shank ( I prefer bone out for ease, but if you get it with the bone, there are added steps)*
6-10 star anise
6-10 slices of fresh ginger
5-8 gloves of garlic (peeled and crushed, but still in cloves)
Soy sauce (about 1/4-1/2 cup, I eyeball this)
Chili bean paste (this is where the heat comes from, I add about 1 tsp usually, but more is fine)
1 sachet of imperial spice (blend of cinnamon, star anise, peppers, etc) This and the bean paste I found at a local Asian supermarket) 

*If you are using the bone-in, fill up a pot of water, add some cooking wine, and boil the heck out of the whole hunk of meat for about 30 minutes.
**If you want to use the meat-boiled water instead of stock, that is great. I don't like dealing with the floating marrow/foam stuff though, so I just use the pre-made stock.

For pickled cabbage***:
1-2 packages of sour mustard cabbage (it usually  has a rooster on it, yellowish green looking pickled vegetable) Usually found near tofu/dim sum things at the Asian supermarket)
Bunch of minced garlic (I cheat and use the pre-minced ones)
1/4 cup of sugar
bit of cooking oil.

Take the cabbage out of the package, rinse, and drain. While heating up some oil in small frying pan on medium, chop up the cabbage and garlic. Place in the pan and saute for a couple of minutes. Add sugar and mix together. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the sugar melt into the mixture. When it starts to get a bit syrupy, remove from heat, and let it cool. I put it in the fridge while the soup is cooking. It is better chilled.

***This might not be to everyones liking, but I find it really tasty in the soup. It adds sourness to cut the heat from the chili bean paste.

Add-in for soup:
Bok Choi, gai lan, or any sort of leafy vegetable that you like: Steam these up and just add into the bowl
 Cilantro: Wash, dry, and chop up.
 Noodles (I normally get these from the Asian supermarket) Look in the dried noodle section for wide noodles made from flour, salt, and water): Cook according to the packages directions, then add to the bowl.
If using the bone-in shank, see * and ** above. After that, or if using meat without the bone, cut shank into fairly large pieces. In a large pot, heat up some oil on medium, and add ginger, garlic, and the meat. Brown for about 5 minutes, then add stock, star anise, sachet, soy sauce, and chili bean paste. If I want more stock, I add about 1-2 cups of water. Put a lid on the pot, and simmer on medium for about 30 minutes. Then decrease heat to low and gently simmer for about 2-3 hours. The longer the better I find. Just before serving, take out the sachet and any pieces of star anise that you can fish out. I like the ginger and garlic to be left in, but that is personal preference.

When it is time to serve, find some nice big bowls. Add the noodles and veggies into each bowl. Ladle the broth and meat on top. Top with cilantro and the pickled cabbage mixture. Enjoy!

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