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Braised Beef Noodles
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Taiwan Braised Beef Noodles

Braised beef noodles are Taiwan’s signature dish, even if you haven’t tried it yourself, you will see the name displayed in eateries all over Taiwan.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kg stewing steak
  • 750 ml beef stock
  • 1 Black Cardamom pod
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 2 tablets geraniol
  • 4 dried red peppers
  • 3 fennel: 3 stars
  • 1 g pepper
  • 5 star anise
  • 20 g ginger sliced
  • 30 g scallion green onion
  • 10 g brown sugar
  • Vegetable oil: 15 ml for frying spices plus 30 ml for frying the bean paste and tempeh
  • 50 ml Shaoxing wine
  • 30 g Chinese fermented bean paste cut into pieces
  • 5 g tempeh Chinese fermented black soybeans, cut into pieces
  • 100 ml soy sauce

Instructions

  • For the braised beef, the choice of beef is very important, one principle is the more tender cuts tend to produce better dishes, beef flank, brisket or sirloin are all good choices. You do not need to use the expensive parts such as the loin. These cuts are best suited to faster, high heat cooking. Slow cooking of these cuts tends to cause loss of flavor rather than improved flavor.
  • Prepare the beef by cutting it into 2-3 cm square pieces.
  • Take a large pot and add 2 liters of water and bring to the boil. Simmer a small amount of the beef at a time until it changes color and the water returns to the boil; remove the beef. Allow the water to come to the boil again before adding the next batch. The beef is cooked in batches for two reasons: to remove the strong beefy taste and to prevent discoloration of the braised beef mixture in the following steps.
  • Take a 20cm deep, heavy-based pot and heat 15 ml of vegetable oil. Add the Black Cardamom pod, nutmeg, geraniol, dried red pepper, fennel, pepper, star anise, ginger, scallion and brown sugar, and stir fry constantly until the fragrance is released. Frying in the wok brings out the spices’ fragrance, especially pepper and fennel, more than if it is cooked in water as boiling water does not reach a high enough temperature.
  • When you can smell the aroma of the spices and they have changed color slightly, pour in half the beef stock (about 375 ml).
  • Add the beef and the rest of the beef stock. I use beef stock, and in theory you can replace with water, but the flavor is inferior. The flavor of the stock penetrates the beef with more flavor. This is the first tip for making a well flavored beef stew.
  • Pour 50 ml of Shaoxing wine into the pot, bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and stew for one hour. Students should note that at this point we have not put in any salt spices. The main reason meat stew becomes dry is due to salt drawing out the juices by osmotic pressure. This is the second tip for successful braised beef: first stew the beef for one hour and then add the salt spices, so that the moisture in the beef can be kept to the maximum and the texture is soft and juicy.
  • While the beef is stewing, we can prepare the bean paste and tempeh, which is the basis of many Sichuan flavor dishes. To release the fragrance, we need to chop the bean paste.
  • Another important condition for the release of bean paste and tempeh flavor is the temperature. In a small pan, heat 30 ml of vegetable oil and add the chopped bean paste and tempeh. Stir fry until the fragrance is released. Once the vegetable oil turns red, remove the pot from the stove, and stand to cool for one hour.
  • After one hour, the fried bean paste and tempeh will have combined with the oil. Add this mixture into the beef.
  • Then stir in 100 ml of soy sauce, replace the lid and stew for another hour.
  • Time to open the lid and take in the mind-blowing aroma! Using chopsticks, take out a piece of the beef to try. It should be tender and juicy, with flavor that lingers in your mouth!
  • Remove the beef a bit at a time and strain the sauce to remove the larger pieces of spices, and then put the beef back in. If you want even more flavor, place the stew in a sealed container and refrigerate for 24 hours. Reheat on low.
  • Now we can make braised beef noodles. Into a large saucepan add 2 liters of water and bring to the boil. Cook the noodles. If you are using dry noodles, cook them to the extent you like, if fresh noodles, cook until the noodles float.
  • Into a serving dish, pour some of the beef stew liquid and place the cooked noodles into the liquid. Place a few pieces of beef (about 8-10 is good) on top of the noodles. Garnish with a few slices of green onion and serve with hot vegetables. Authentic Taiwan braised beef noodles are traditionally accompanied by chopped sautéed sauerkraut. Delicious!