Beef noodle soup is a filling and fragrant soup made with beef, beef broth, noodles and various seasonings and garnishes. It is enjoyed throughout East and Southeast Asia, and there are many different regional variations, with the best known being Lanzhou beef noodle soup and Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
Lanzhou beef noodle soup is thought to be one of the oldest varieties of beef noodle soup, created during the Tang dynasty (618 to 907 AD). It is a Chinese Muslim dish, made without soy sauce for a lighter flavour, and is often seasoned using salt and herbs. Other key ingredients include Chinese radish and a specially cooked chilli oil.
Taiwanese beef noodle soup is known as a ‘red cooked’ soup, because the beef is cooked with fermented bean baste, soy sauce and rock sugar to add flavour, along with a reddish-brown colour. The beef is often simmered inside the broth for several hours for an intensely savoury flavour.
Our recipe is a Taiwanese noodle soup with a strong umami flavour and a hint of chilli heat, perfect for warming up on a cold winter’s day.
6, cut in half across the width
2, cut in half across the length
1, medium, cut into slices
Bean paste (spicy or regular, according to taste),
Dark soy sauce,
Light soy sauce,
2, medium, cut into quarters
Fill a large pan with water, then add the beef, 3 of the scallions, 5 ginger slices and 3 star anise pods.
Cover the pot and bring to the boil over a high heat. Boil the ingredients together for 5 minutes.
Drain and remove the beef, discarding the cooking liquid. Rinse the meat with cold water, cut into generous slices and set aside.
Place a wok or large pan onto the stove, over a medium high heat. Pour in the oil and add the remaining scallions, ginger slices and star anise pods, along with the garlic, red chillis, onion, rock sugar and bean paste. Cook until the onions become translucent.
Add the beef slices and the dark soy sauce, stir briefly, then add the rice wine, flowed by the light soy sauce, then the tomatoes. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Take the same large pot you used before and fill a quarter of the way with water. Heat over a medium-high heat and add the contents of the wok.
Add a little more water, so the meat is just covered, then add the white pepper, salt and bay leaves.
Cover the pot, reduce to a low heat and simmer until the beef is tender, at least 2 hours. Remove the bay leaf and star anise pods.
In a separate pot, fill with water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the flour noodles and cook according to the instructions on the packet.
When the noodles are done, remove them from the pot and add the bok choy to the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes, then drain.
Divide the noodles between 6 serving bowls, then add the bok choy, followed by the meat and the broth. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, and red chillies.
Serve and enjoy.
If you enjoyed this dish, there are plenty of other Asian soup recipes to try. Warming, nourishing, and full of aromatic spices, these delicious bowls of goodness are the perfect way to beat the winter chill, and they’re often easier to make than they might look. Try them out for yourself with these 7 comforting Asian soups.
For more beef noodle goodness, take a look at this recipe for pho bo, or Vietnamese beef noodle soup.