This dish is the national dish of Taiwan, but it actually originates from Mainland China. The KMT (nationalist’s party) that fled China to Taiwan were the inventors of this dish.
What makes it so uniquely Taiwanese? It’s the toasted soya sauce on the braised beef. This style of braising is known as ‘red roasting’ or simply braising with soya sauce. You only add soya sauce once the meat is braised golden brown, lower the heat and continue braising. The strong sharp flavour from the sauce disappears and is replaced with a toasted aroma, adding incredible fragrance and flavour to the dish. Whereas, in China, the Beef Noodle Soup has a stronger and purer beef taste, made without the soya sauce.
I called up my folks to go over the recipe for Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, but my mama didn’t exactly make it easy for me. I knew exactly what ingredients were required, but … no quantities. Oh crap.
So this Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup recipe is one I had to develop by taste. But I can tell you I had fun doing this for my Flavour Box on Woolworths.
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Serves 4 (no leftovers… bleak)
- Oil for pan-frying (canola or sunflower)
- 3 large onions, diced
- 4 large carrots chopped (thick slices)
- 5 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 100g ginger, thickly sliced
- 8 star anise
- 1 Tbsp of Chinese Five Spices
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 1kg beef shank or shin (cut up into chunks, keep the bones – they add rich flavour)
- 4 plum tomatoes or 150g rosa tomatoes
- 1 C soya sauce
- 5 C water (enough to cover the beef, you may need to keep filling it up as liquid evaporates)
- Orange peel
- Salt and chili to taste
Extras: (you may leave these out and still have a rad flavour):
1/4 C rice wine
1 tsp to 1/4 C brown sugar (optional)
2 Tbsp chili sauce or 2 Tbsp broad bean paste with chili / 辣豆瓣酱)
1.5 tsp beef stock
Optional blanched vegetables, such as:
– bok choy
– napa cabbage
Garnish generously with freshly-chopped coriander.
- In a pan over medium high heat, sauté onion until golden, then add garlic ginger, spring onion, and star anise until onions are golden brown.
- Remove contents from the pot into a large bowl. Bring the pot back onto the stove, drizzle some oil then add the beef (including bones) and braise for a few minutes, until the meat has turned slightly browned.
- Add a dash of soy sauce to the beef and continue to braise for another 2 minutes. This is to red roast the beef, which is toasting the soya sauce to remove the sharp taste, leaving behind a fragrant aroma.
- Add tomatoes, rice wine, Chinese Five Spices, and brown sugar then stir until sugar melts. Then put the onion mix back into the pot.
- Add water until all the ingredients are covered, then allow to boil on a high heat for 5 minutes before lowering it to a slow simmer for one and a half to two hours. Leave a wooden spoon in the soup to prevent it from boiling over and cover the pot.
- Make the egg noodles as per instruction. Usually you’d use wide and flat noodles, but these Woolies egg noodles are just as rad. Add a drop of oil to the water while the noodles boil, to keep the noodle strands from sticking to each other and to the pot. Rinse the noodles in some cool water to keep them al denté (chewy).
- Blanch the veggies.
- Lightly zest an orange into the soup, right before serving.
- Place a handful of noodles in a serving bowl, top with soup, meat and add the greens. Serve hot hot hot!
Blanch the greens, and top the soup off with a handful of chopped coriander and thinly sliced fresh spring onion.
Tip: I hate random floating tomato peel. To skin a tomato, cut a small cross at the base, cover with boiling water and sit for 30 seconds. Place into cold water then peel off skin.