Ni Rou Mian (Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup)

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It has been a very long time since I’ve made any type of noodle soup.  I used to make it all the time for us but for some reason after I became pregnant and had a baby it just never occurred to me to cook noodle soups.  I don’t know why.  Noodle soups are essentially a one pot meal and fairly easy to put together.  I had a hankering for something spicy, warm and filled with noodles one day.  I had always wanted to try making my own Ni Rou Mian so I jumped at the opportunity.  I did some research on the internet and consulted my Taiwanese friend since I have never even tasted a bowl of Ni Rou Mian before.  There were variants from recipe to recipe of course – some were spicy, others not; some used tomato paste instead of whole tomatoes.  But I came to the conclusion that either way, I just couldn’t go wrong with a big pot of beef noodle soup.  Yes – comfort food at its best.

My version of Ni Rou Mian turned out to be fabulous and we could not stop raving over how good it was.  I chose to take the spicy route and the broth turned out to be rich, spicy and beefy.  The pickled mustard topping is a must!  It takes it to a whole other dimension.  My vegetarian sister-in-law even commented on how good the beef soup smelled and wished that she ate meat so she could try some.

Ni Rou Mian (Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless beef shank, cut into 1.5″ cubes
  • 2 lbs beef flank plate, cut into 1/5″ cubes
  • 2″ piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 green onion stalks, chopped into thirds
  • 3 tbsps chili bean paste
  • 1 tbsp sacha paste
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 6 star anise pods
  • a 3″ piece of rock sugar
  • 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into cubes
  • 16 cups beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pkg pickled mustard greens
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tsps sambal chili paste
  • 2 pkgs fresh la mian noodles
  • bok choy

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Add beef shank cubes and bring back to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and allow to boil for 5 minutes.  Remove beef into bowl and rinse under cold water to get rid of the scum.  Do the same with the beef flank plate cubes.
  2. Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a dutch oven or large stock pot.  Add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute.  Add chopped onions and saute for another 3 minutes.  Add chili bean paste, sacha paste and stir to coat onion mixture.  Add beef shank and stir to coat.  Add green onion, star anise, rock sugar and soy sauce.  Add in the 16 cups of beef stock.  Use a cheesecloth to tie up the Szechuan peppercorns and add to pot.  Bring mixture to boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for an hour.
  3. After an hour, add in beef flank plate and tomatoes.
  4. Simmer for another hour or two until meat is tender.  Adjust seasoning by adding in salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the pickled mustard topping.  Remove pickled mustard from packaging and rinse under cold water.  Fill a large bowl with water and allow mustard greens to soak for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, drain and rinse again under cold water.  Coarsely chop mustard greens.
  6. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a saute pan, add mustard greens and saute for 2 minutes.  Add in 1 tsp of sugar and 2 tsps sambal chili paste.  Saute for another 2 minutes, transfer to bowl and allow to cool.
  7. Once the beef soup is ready, remove cheesecloth from pot.  Add in bok choy and allow to boil for 2 minutes.  Cook noodles according to package and drain well.
  8. Divide noodles among large bowls.  Ladle in soup, meat and bok choy.  Top with pickled mustard greens and serve immediately.
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