Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

April 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have been waiting to make this for 40 days.

This recipe is a shout-out to my most darling friend of Taiwanese-descent, Ellen. Superspy.


1. Only put two star anise, because even if you think it’s not enough, those little suckers are STRONG. And delicious. But just put two, you don’t want to overpower your soup.

2. I didn’t make my own noodles, but one day I will.  Until then, kalgooksoo noodles (jja jang myun noodles) are totally sufficient.

3. I couldn’t find Chili Bean sauce in the grocery store, so I used Chili Black Bean Sauce.  I hope I didn’t make a cardinal error that is an affront to this noodle’s tradition, but it tasted really good!

4. If you can’t find rock sugar, I think it would be fine.  It just looks pretty cool.

5. Ideally you want to boil until the meat has fallen off the bone and your marrow-bones look bare, see below. (That means all the FLAVOR is in your broth! Mmmmm)

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
Serves 4
Adapted from TinyUrbanKitchen

3 lbs Beef Shank
2 T vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch chunk of ginger, chopped
2 star anise
2 scallion stalks, chopped
2 1/2 T Chili black bean sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 carrots, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup rice wine
1/4 cup rock sugar

8 baby bok-choy, split in half and washed well

2 bunches of fresh hand-pulled noodles
hot sauce


Soak beef shank pieces in hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain dirty water, rinse beef shanks, and set aside. Over medium high heat saute garlic, ginger, scallions, and star anise in vegetable oil until fragrant. Add beef shank and chili bean sauce and saute for a few minutes, until the beef is slightly browned. Add soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes, rice wine, and rock sugar. Add water until everything is just covered. Bring to medium high heat and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 2-4 hours, or until the beef is fall-apart tender. You may need to add water because of evaporation, so please keep a close eye on it! (Optional* Add hot sauce to taste.) Remove meat and let it cool, and then slice carefully against the grain when it is cool enough to handle.  Reserve.

In a separate pot, boil water.  Add bok-choy and boil for 3 minutes, and then immediately submerge in cold water.  Drain, and put aside.

In another large pot, boil water for the noodles.  Boil the noodles according to directions on the package, mine were no longer than four minutes.

In your serving bowl, add the drained noodles.  Add bok-choy on top, and then a few slices of meat (around 5-6 per bowl is good).  Enjoy!

Cold Sesame Noodles *with a KICK!

March 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had one of those afternoons where I was scrounging around my pantry, looking for something…anything to make!  Here is one of those dishes that, while not spectacular, will be extremely satisfying and filling using ingredients that will most likely already be in your kitchen. (Please stop reading if you are a foodie…this is a very downmarket-dish.  Padma Lakshmi would call it “pedestrian” but…who cares! ;))

I tried this with two types of noodles, one, a box of linguine that needed to be used, and another, a thin Korean-noodle used for kong-gook-soo.  Both were great, I love thin noodles (see my Dan Dan Noodles post).  This is a good snack-food, I hope you enjoy it!

Cold Sesame Noodles Recipe

Adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe


  • 1 box of spaghetti or linguine (or any kind of noodles you like, 1 lb)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal oelek
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sriracha (please only put in if you like things mouth-numbingly spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling unsalted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles really well and transfer to a wide bowl; toss with the sesame oil so they don’t stick together.

In a small saucepan, heat the peanut oil over medium-low flame. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and chili paste. Cook and stir for a minute until soft and fragrant. Mix in the sriracha, brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the peanut butter has smoothed out. Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce until well coated. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with the sesame seeds. ENJOY!

Dan Dan Noodles (or when I realized I don’t enjoy the taste of Szechuan Peppercorn)

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

UPDATE: So I tried the leftovers today cold, and they were so much better than when I tasted it last night.  🙂 What gives?  Also, must share this amazing video:

Sara Bareilles\’ Cover of YELLOW

So this week, I have been looking up different recipes for Dan Dan Noodles.  There are SO many variations on this dish, so I decided to make up my own.  There seemed to be a trend of “must-have” ingredients, so I took the liberty of creating my own, based on the flavors I thought I would enjoy the most.  I realize this is a bit brazen and the last thing I want to do is offend anyone with my utter lack of following any Dan Dan Noodle-standard, so I offer my take on this noodle dish.

After helping out at my dad’s store, I was inspired to pick up some groceries at the gloriously amazing H-mart in Edison on my way home. On my list: baby bokchoy, fresh wonton thin noodles, sliced pork, and szechuan (sichuan) peppercorn.  The first three items were easy to find, and I had no doubt that I could readily find Szechuan Peppercorn, as H-mart not only has a huge offering of Korean products, it also has an amazing selection of Chinese products.  I asked four different H-mart employees who were so kind and helpful in trying to locate these peppercorns, but to no avail.  So, I went straight to the source and asked a lovely Chinese family (who were also shopping for groceries) where they might think I could find them.  The bag of “dried prickly ash” was in my hands within the next minute.

Here is the recipe:

Dan Dan Noodles

1 lb of ground pork (I have a *thing about buying pre-ground meat, so I bought a pound of sliced pork and ground it myself at home.)
2 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of mirin
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp of canola oil (plus 2 tbsp later on)
1 tbps of garlic, finely chopped
1 lb of baby bokchoy, cleaned thoroughly and halved length-wise (be sure to rinse bokchoy several times, it is EXTREMELY sandy)
3 tbsp soy sauce
3-4 tbsp of chili oil
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of Szechuan peppercorn, toasted and ground into a powder
340g (12oz) fresh wonton noodles (I love thin noodles, and I used this instead of the traditional thicker lo-mein-style noodle)

1. Marinate the ground pork with mirin, soy sauce, salt and pepper for 20 minutes.

2. Clean the baby bokchoy and halve while meat is marinating.

3. Heat oil in a wok over medium high heat and add garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add the meat and brown.

4. Remove meat after about 5-7 minutes of cooking, until it is cooked through. Place in a bowl.

5. Heat additional oil to wok, and add bokchoy. Cook until tender, around 10 minutes.

6. Remove bokchoy and place it with the cooked meat.

7. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, chili oil, ground peppercorn, peanut butter, and sugar. Whisk until well-blended.

8. Boil a pot of water to cook the noodles. After the water comes to a boil, cook the noodles for 15 seconds, stirring so that they don’t clump together. Drain.

9. Add noodles to the wok, add pork and bok choy, and stir in the sauce. Mix over medium high heat until it’s well-incorporated.

10. Enjoy!

So…..everything was going so well and tasted so good until…I added the peppercorns to the sauce.  I thought, “oh well, maybe it’ll enhance the flavors of the dish when it all comes together” so I eagerly stirred all the ingredients together and had a taste.  Nope.  It still had that strange, overpowering scent and taste that I can’t really put into words.  It wasn’t spicy, it was just…soapy? I don’t know, but as soon as I tasted it I remembered eating a dish with that same exact flavor that I couldn’t finish, so naturally, I was/am bummed.

I am betting that if Szechuan Peppercorn is your thing, you would love this, but if it’s not, I am not recommending this. I should have just stuck with the original sauce minus the peppercorns and it would have been exactly what I was dreaming about.

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