Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red chiles (fresno, jalapeño, or serrano), stemmed, and chopped
  • 1 red Thai bird chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb beef chuck or boneless shin, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2 quarts vegetable or beef stock
  • 8-12 ounces dried flat udon noodles
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped 
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar 
  • 2-3 teaspoons Chinese chili bean sauce, plus more as needed OR 1 t each of akamiso/doenjang, gochujang, and chile-garlic paste/sambal oelek
  • 3 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water (opt.)
  • 5 baby bok choy or equal amount of other tender cabbage or hearty lettuce, sliced into 1 inch ribbons
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • small handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes, and then stir in the ginger, garlic and chiles and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Meanwhile, season the beef cubes with kosher salt and the 5 spice powder. Add the beef and stir-fry until it begins to brown, and then pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is very tender, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the udon according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside 

Add the carrots to the simmering soup, cover, and cook until crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk together the sugar, chile bean sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved and stir it into the soup. While stirring, pour the cornstarch slurry into the soup and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir the cabbage into the broth 1-2 minutes before serving, or if using lettuce, add directly before service.

Just before serving, divide the noodles between 2 bowls and ladle the hot soup over each bowl. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and sriracha. Recipe adapted from Ching’s Classic Beef Noodle Soup by Ching-He Huang.

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