Clear Beef Noodle Soup

Classic Taiwan Clear Broth Beef Noodle Soup Recipe

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… Which means we are working day and night–living on nothing but large slices of boring-looking floppy pizza and flat Pepsi–to get the right image.

Beef noodle soup is virtually Taiwan’s national dish. This light but tasty version with succulent beef and silky noodles isn’t hard to master at home (though it is time consuming). Like most stocks, this one for beef noodles is hardly worth doing unless you do it in some volume. The stock can be refrigerated or frozen and trotted out whenever you feel in the mood. Though it is specific to this dish, the stock contains a range of standard Chinese seasonings and could be used in stir-fries, other soups or stews.

Serves 4

Stock Ingredients (8 servings)
4 litres (8.4 pt) water
1 large beef bone
1/2 large onion
1/2 large carrot
1/2 large daikon radish
1 stalk of scallion
1 large slice ginger
1 star anise
2 tablespoons rice wine
1/2 teaspoon salt

Stock Method

  1. Boil water in large pot.
  2. Wash bone.
  3. Peel and wash carrot and radish, and cut into halves.
  4. Peel onion, cut in half.
  5. Add all ingredients to pot.
  6. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
  7. Filter stock. Put stock solids aside.

Noodle Soup Ingredients (Serves 4)
400 g (14 oz) (dry) white, round noodles
400 g (14 oz) boneless beef shank*
2 litres (4.2 pt) stock
4 slices ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stalk scallion, chopped finely
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Noodle Soup Method

  1. Wash, blanch beef.
  2. Throw out water and clean pot.
  3. Put stock, beef, ginger and salt in pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Remove beef from soup and allow to cool.
  5. Bring a pot of water to boil, add noodles, bring to boil again and simmer according to package instructions.
  6. Cut beef in 1/2 cm (0.2 in) thick slices across muscle.
  7. Drain noodles and place equal portions in 4 large bowls.
  8. Place beef on noodles.
  9. Add soup
  10. Garnish each bowl with a drop of sesame oil and a sprinkle of spring onions.

*Boneless beef shank (牛腱 niú jiàn) appears to be a Chinese cut of meat. When cooked it balls up to resemble some sort of internal organ. Other beef cuts with a bit of fat and plenty of connective tissue (the sight of tendon is a good sign when it comes to this dish), like rib meat, shank or chuck are fine too. Cut into small chunks and cook for 2 hours. Most plain-flavoured Chinese noodles are suitable, but thin, round noodles are most common for this dish in Taiwan. The vegetables from the stock can be eaten separately.

qīngdùn niúròu miàn


Chinese Pickled Cucumber Salad

Pickled Cucumber Salad
A lightly pickled cucumber salad commonly served in Taiwan as a zesty appetiser. This is a simple dish but it needs to be prepared half a day in advance.