Chinese braised beef noodle soup

A steaming bowl of beef noodle soup is the ultimate in Chinese comfort food. This recipe looks long, but it’s simple – beef shank slow-braised in soy sauce and wine, ginger and green onions. Serve over hot noodles and broth. Sigh with satisfaction.

Braised beef shank ingredients

  • 1 or 2 boneless beef shanks, about 1 1/2 or 2 pounds each (it’s just as easy to make two – uses the same amount of sauce and freezes well)
  • 1/2 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup wine (traditionally rice wine, such as shao xing; but my mom uses sake and says any wine will do)
  • 2 cups water
  • Two whole green onions, ends trimmed
  • 3 to 4 slices ginger
  • 8-10 Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 anise seed (optional)

Braised beef shank directions

  1. Wash beef shanks and trim excess fat if necessary. Place in large pot with rest of ingredients.
  2. Bring to boil. Cover tightly, turn heat to low and simmer for approximately two hours. Flip both shanks (add additional water if liquid is low), cover again and continue to cook for another two hours.
  3. Let beef shanks cool. Refrigerate overnight in sauce (makes for easier cutting).
  4. Remove beef shanks from sauce (will be solid from gelatin in the beef) and cut crosswise into thin slices. Reserve beef and sauce for noodle soup.

Noodle soup ingredients

  • Chinese noodles (preferably fresh refrigerated wheat noodles, but you can also used dried wheat or rice noodles)
  • Chicken broth (my mom likes Swanson), one can for every two servings
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Greens (eg spinach, napa cabbage, bok choy)
  • Slivered scallions or chives

Noodle soup directions

  1. In a soup pot, combine one can of broth, two cans of water and two or three tablespoons of reserved sauce from the beef shank. Bring to a boil and adjust flavorings (salt, pepper, additional reserved sauce or a touch of soy sauce) as necessary. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add greens to blanch for a few seconds, remove and set aside. Cook noodles as directed (do not overcook) and drain.
  3. Divide noodles into large bowls. Add a few greens and a generous serving of beef shank slices. Ladle in soup broth. Top with green onion slivers and serve steaming hot.

Makes enough broth for two big servings.

Notes

  • Boneless beef shanks are easily found in Asian markets. You can use crosscut shanks with bone in, but you won’t be able to slice the beef as easily. If you use bone-in shanks, boil the shanks in water for a few minutes and drain before starting the braise.
  • Ideally cook the beef shanks a day or two ahead, as it’s easier to cut the beef in thin slices when it’s cold.
  • Taiwanese beef noodle soup often includes tomatoes and/or bean paste. Other flavorings to consider: rock sugar (or brown sugar), cinnamon stick, five spice powder, dried orange peel.
  • If using fresh noodles, don’t cook more than two servings at a time, or they’ll get sticky.
  • You can freeze the beef shank after slicing and have it handy whenever you need a beef noodle fix.

Here’s the link back to the post and pictures.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon 27 November 2014 at 12:35 am

Great recipe

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Jonathan 3 October 2017 at 10:46 am

Wouldn’t you get a deeper flavor using bones?!

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cg 3 October 2017 at 12:46 pm

hi jonathan – you could! it’s true bones are fantastic for flavor. but i think my mom does it this way for simplicity (also easier slicing). but your point is spot on, thanks for contributing!

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Charlene 20 February 2018 at 5:17 pm

Thank you for your recipe. Can you pls let me know how much of the following to add to the broth?

Taiwanese beef noodle soup often includes tomatoes and/or bean paste. Other flavorings to consider: rock sugar (or brown sugar), cinnamon stick, five spice powder, dried orange peel.

Also how do you get the broth to be clear?

Thank you, Charlene from San Francisco

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cg 28 February 2018 at 11:23 am

hi charlene – i am sorry i got so behind on comments! you are so right, you can always add other flavorings to the broth, and there are so many possible variations. i recommend you just add a bit of what you like and adjust to taste. always good to start small. i guess we just happen to like the simplicity of the basic. as for broth clarity – in general, for long-simmered broths, a low simmer will produce a clearer broth, whereas a boil has a tendency to make things cloudy. hope that helps! thank you so much for commenting.

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