Do you want to learn how to make Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup from a local? This post comes from Mu-Hsien from Live Like Your Traveling Blog. Her and her best friend and blogging partner Alla teach us how to live like we’re traveling by using simple tips like trying out a new trail near your city or preparing an international dish with friends. I wrote a post on their blog about International Love and Mu-Hsien returned the favor by sharing this tasty Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup recipe with us. Could not have come at a better time as I am getting ready to head to Taiwan in a few weeks.
When traveling, few things unite people like a great meal prepared and shared together. Walls come down and we find ourselves more open. I love to cook with friends, a tradition that started many years ago abroad. Whether it was in Lucerne cooking with a crowd to make fondue, or shucking oysters in the countryside of France, one key element made these moments so memorable…the chaos and laughter of having everyone in the kitchen, all working together in their own way to pull a fantastic meal together.
Recently, we traded in the hustle of the city for a scenic and idyllic weekend visiting friends in Spring Green, Wisconsin. They knew of my love for noodles and asked if I could show them how to prepare a dish. There was no question. I had to share with them one of my favorite noodle dishes: Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. What is delightful about this dish is the complexity of the broth. The advanced version can use up to 32 spices, but this “everyday” version is still mind blowing! It’s an iconic staple and something I grew up on. When I think of Taiwan, my mind immediately recalls the sound of scooters whizzing by in the city, contrasted by the serene countrysides. And well of course…there’s the food!
Excited to share a taste of home, we stopped by a local asian market on our way up and picked up these key ingredients: (These ingredients make great leave behind gifts for the host to experiment with further!)
• 2 lbs beef shank or beef brisket
• 1 knob of ginger (cut into thin slices)
• 1 large onion (chopped in strips)
• 3 Stalks of scallion (cut into 2-3 inch. sections)
• 1 Stalk of scallion (diced into small rings for presentation)
• 1 tomato (chop into large chunks)
• 3 tbsp of hot bean paste
• 3/4 cup of soy sauce
• 1/2 cup rice wine
• 1 tsp Sambal Oelec chili paste (I like it hot!)
• 1 tbsp of Chinese BBQ “shacha” sauce (It’s savory, not sweet like American BBQ)
• Prepare a spice bag of: 1 tbsp szechuan peppercorn, 2-3 pieces cinnamon bark, fennel seeds, 3-4 star anise pods
• 1 tbsp of sugar
• 1 lb of handmade or Chinese noodles
• 4-5 bunches of bok choy (Cut off bottoms and slice in half vertically to retain the length)
With everyone in the kitchen, ready to take on a role, the plan was to prep the broth together before taking a hike nearby. When we tired ourselves of the snowy hills, we would come back home to a simmering broth that would be ready for us. Here’s how you can prepare it in your global kitchen…
1) Cut and prepare all of the vegetables.
2) Bring one pot of water to boil and place beef into the water for a 3 minutes. This helps to separate impurities from the meat resulting in a clearer broth. Drain, dry and set aside. When it has cooled off, slice the beef into large square chunks.
3) In another pot or wok, heat up 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat to saute the ginger, onion until the onion browns.
4) Clean out the original pot and place the sliced beef in over medium heat. Add cooking rice wine, hot bean paste, Chinese bbq sauce, sambal oelec chili sauce. Stir well. Add soy sauce, sugar, long scallion pieces and stir well again. Saute to meld the flavors for a few minutes.
5) Add the water, spice bag and tomato to the pot. Boil then let simmer for up to 2 hours optimally. Afterwards, taste the broth. It is best if it tastes a bit too salty. This is because the noodles will later be added into a bowl of this broth and in doing so will water it down to the perfect balance.
6) Bring two pots of water to boil. In one, drop the (handmade) noodles in and cook until the first moment it becomes soft or follow direction on the package. Watch carefully and taste to not let it over cook. Cooking in a separate pot, keeps the cloudy residue from the noodles from “tainting” the beef broth. Drain noodles and set aside.
7) In the other pot, blanch the bok choy and set aside.
To serve: spoon broth into a big soup bowl halfway full. Place noodles, set bok choy on top and sprinkle diced scallions. Pour everyone a drink and cheers your team “gan bei!” for tasty job well done! (Recipe serves 4)
Nothing like a warm spicy noodle soup to refuel. Oh gosh, I’m so hungry now recounting these steps. I hope you’ll share in bowl of Taiwan with me! Whether the adventure is in the kitchen or on a mountain, make it a daily challenge to get outside of your comfort zone…because everyday is a “once in a lifetime chance!”
Thanks Mu-Hsien (left) for sharing this recipe with us! For more inspiration, check our their Instagram account (one of my favorites) Live Live You’re Traveling