Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beef tomato noodle soup 番茄牛肉麵

The weather today is still cold, cloudy and drizzling. Tomorrow will be in the 80s! Isn't that crazy? Well, given that fact that there are so many natural disasters recently, and we can still wake up everyday to our love ones, we should really be thankful. Well, what is good for a wet rainy day like this? A warm noodle soup is great! 

Beef noodle soup is such a popular food in Taiwan. So much so that it has become the icon of Taiwanese food. There are "beef noodle soup" contests every year in Taipei competing for the title of the best noodle soup restaurant.

There are many modifications of the beef noodle soup, adding tomato is one of them. I like the sweet and sour taste of tomatoes, and they have to be cooked in order to release the nutrition in them. I always keep the skin, because most nutrition is in the skin.


  • 1 lb. beef shank or beef stew cubes
  • 2 large tomatoes of any kind
  • seasoning: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp cooking wine, 3 slices of ginger, salt
  • species: there are commercial ready-mix of the spices. If can't find them, just mix 5 anise stars (八角), 1 piece of dried orange skin (陳皮) and 1 Tbsp Chinese peppercorns (花椒)

1. If use beef shank meat, cut it into 1/2 inch thick pieces horizontally, so you can see the cross section of the shank. I prefer beef shank over beef stew cubes because beef shank has tendon, when slow-cooked, it can be really tender.
2. Boil a pot of water. Put beef in boiling water until it changes color on the surface (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Remove from water. Dump the water.
3. Boil another pot of water (about 1 gallon = 3.75 L). Put beef, tomatoes (cut into quarters), spices and seasoning in. Cook for 1 hour on low heat. Turn off heat. Cover and let sit at room temperature for hours. Reheat before serve. Add to noodles. Sprinkle sour cabbage and chopped scallions on top.

Sour mustard

Sour mustard (酸菜): mustard leafs marinated with salt, after days, it is fermented and becomes sour. I bought the commercial ones from the Chinese grocery stores. If not available, try the recipe here. Wash the sour mustard to remove the excess salt. Chop it into small to fine pieces. Heat a few Tbsp oil, put some sliced garlic and the sour mustard. Don't add salt, because it's already salty. Add hot pepper if desired. It is good with rice too, very tasty.

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