Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
Don't go looking for Sichuan spices in this recipe. Taiwanese beef noodle soup was "invented" because, back in the day, there were no Sichuan spices in Taiwan.I used rice noodles but there's no reason why you can't go for egg noodles if that is your preference or if that is what is more readily available in your neighborhood.
- Slow Cooker
- cooking oil for browning
- 750 grams beef shank (bone-in)
- 6 cloves garlic lightly pounded
- 2 shallots unpeeled, cut into halves
- 1 thumb-sized knob ginger rinsed and scrubbed (no need to peel)
- 1 star anise
- ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bird’s eye chili finely sliced
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chili bean sauce (see notes after the recipe)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white sugar or more, if you have a sweet tooth
- ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- salt as needed
- rice noodles for four people or egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
- 8 bunches bok choy halved, rinsed well, and blanched
- quail eggs hard-boiled and shelled (optional)
- toasted sesame seeds
- finely sliced scallions
- Heat about three tablespoons cooking oil in a wide and deep thick-bottomed pan.
- Brown the beef, in batches if necessary, turning the pieces around for even coloring.
- Scoop out the browned beef and transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add the garlic, shallots, ginger, peppercorns, bird’s eye chili, star anise, chili bean sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar.
- Pour in enough water to cover the beef.
- Set the heat to LOW, cover the cooker and leave the beef to cook for about eight hours.
- When the beef is done, scoop out and cut into chunks.
- To assemble the Taiwanese beef noodle soup, place noodles in a bowl. Lay bok choy and quail eggs (if using) on the side. Place four to five pieces of beef on top. Ladle plenty of broth over them. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and scallions. Serve hot.
There is Taiwanese chili bean paste (preserved in oil) and there is Sichuan chili bean paste (preserved in vinegar). I prefer the Taiwanese kind for this recipe (for obvious reasons) but, if unavailable, Lee Kum Kee’s chili bean paste is an okay substitute. If using Lee Kum Kee, there is no need to add rice vinegar to the cooking liquid.