Beef Noodle Soup, Taipei-Style

One of my wife’s favorite dishes that she misses here is Taiwanese beef noodle soup. There are a few places where we live here that offer it, but she’s told me that their versions have a few problems with it.  To begin, sometimes it was too sweet, or the soup braise really hadn’t penetrated the beef.  And sometimes the finished dish still had a meaty smell that would be  normally suppressed by adding rice wine or sake.

So as a result, I decided to see if I could cook a version of it for her at home.  I went browsing about the internet and came across a  recipe from the  Feb 2005 issue of Gourmet.  The recipe can be found at –

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Taiwanese-Beef-Noodle-Soup-231502

I modifiied the recipe in the following ways –

* I used daiginjo sake since I didn’t have access to unsalted bi jiu (chinese rice wine).
* I left out the brown sugar as my wife mentioned that this was more a southern Taiwan style preparation of this dish and that they don’t do this in Northern Taiwan.
* The amount of scallions I used was about 5 (from Whole Foods)
* I left out the mung bean sprouts, pickled mustard greens, cilantro, dried Asian tangerine peel.
* I used the boneless short ribs
* I used 2 cups of unsalted chicken broth (a la Iron Chef Chen).
* For the pasta, I opted for the inaniwa udon.
* I added 4 large blanched baby bok choy

Modifications To Iron Chef Chen’s Style Chicken Stock
* I used 4 scallions, cleaned, trimmed and cut into large pieces
* I used  2 oz of daiginjo sake since I didn’t have access to unsalted bi jiu (chinese rice wine).

The “quick” alternative version I use makes this stock in an indirect heating rice cooker/steamer that has a stainless steel inner pot (I have an old tatung rice cooker that’s similar to this –
http://www.tatungusa.com/app/pageproduct.aspx?pid=196&cid=232)

1. Place all items into a cooking pot and steam cook for about 20-30 minutes.
2. Notes: For the beef noodles dish, do NOT add salt to this stock.
3. Whatever remaining stock you have, you can salt using a ratio of about 1/4 tsp salt/cup of liquid
4. Reserve the chicken for other uses, discard remaining solids

For the beef
1. Do NOT season the meat – the soy sauce already has a great deal of salt in it.
2. Cut the boneless short ribs into about 2″ long pieces
3. Bring water, soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, white parts of scallion, garlic, star anise, to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pot, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
4. With canola or grapseed oil, sear the short ribs all over
5. add short ribs to the pot of water/soy/etc and gently simmer, covered, turning occasionally, for about an hour.
6. Let meat stand in cooking liquid to cool.  Afterwards, move the beef to a separate container and store in the refridgerator.  Strain and reserve the cooking liquid with a chinois into a container and store in the refridgerator overnight.  Discard all other solids
7. Next day, remove the solidified fat at the top of the cooking liquid (clarify)
8. pour everything (minus the fat) back into a 5- to 6- qt cooking pot and bring to a simmer. When the cooking liquid is simmering, add the beef and the hot red pepper flakes.
9.  Cook over low heat (40% max power) for about another 1 1/2 hours.
10. Add the chicken stock to the pot, bring to a boil and then turn off the heat

I have done a variation of this with the pressure cooker (I use a Kuhn Rikon – http://kuhnrikon.com/products/pressure_cookers/pressure.php3?id=21 ) –
11. I repeat steps 1-4 (above), and then place them all ingredients in the pressure cooker and let them cook for about 25 minutes on the 2nd red ring
12. I then use steps 6-8 (above)
13. I then use step 10 (above)

For the Baby Bok Choy
1. Blanch bok choy in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes; Shock in ice water, drain

For the inaniwa udon
1. cook noodles in a 6- to 8-quart pot of (unsalted) boiling water until tender, about 7 minutes
2. Shock the noodles in ice water and drain well in a fine mesh colander

To assemble
1. Divide noodles into 2 large soup bowls.
2. Ring the noodles on top with short rib pieces
3. Fill the center of the ring with the baby bok choy
4. Ladle enough broth over the noodles to cover the noodles.

In the spirit of Robuchon, I suppose I could always use the chinese superior broth in place of the chicken broth to make the dish tastier

Here's what the finished product looks like!

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  1. #1 by CY on December 4, 2010 - 6:12 pm

    Yes, the tasting is very good!!! TKS 🙂

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