Growing up, beef noodle soup was a staple in our house. It's something we would eat on the weekends for lunch at least a few times a month. I enjoyed eating it, but it was never one of my favorite dishes. Even when I went off to college, it wasn't one of the dishes that I missed and asked my mom to make when I went home for visits.
Then about two years ago, Boyfriend went home with me because we had a friend's wedding to attend. For lunch, my mom made beef noodle soup. It was Boyfriend's first time eating beef noodle soup, and he absolutely loved it. Even now, he constantly talks about my mom's beef noodle soup.
From then on, he wanted to try beef noodle soup wherever we went. So I started ordering it at restaurants. Watching his passion for beef noodle soup made me excited about it for the first time too. Soon, I started craving beef noodle soup and wanting to find good beef noodle soup places. And whenever I go home now, my mom always has beef noodle soup waiting for me.
I decided to finally try to make it myself. I didn't ever learn how, so I tried my best to follow phone instructions from my mom. It was kind of frustrating to make. Like many chinese dishes, this is not something you can whip up. To get the deep, beef broth, the broth needs to be simmering for several hours. I made mine over two days.
I think the end result was pretty decent for my first attempt. The beef was my favorite part. The beef was really tender and flavorful. For some reason my soup didn't taste exactly right though. Some flavors were missing, but I'm not quite sure what I did wrong. It was also more oily than my mom's.
When I presented my creation to Boyfriend, he said that the broth wasn't as good as my mom's. Ouch ;-). He really liked the beef though. He also didn't like my noodles. For the first night I made this, I was in a rush, and rather than using a thicker, chewier noodle, I used a really thin noodle (mian xian), that cooks really fast, but is very delicate with no chewiness at all. So picky! When he gets all food critic-like it makes me laugh.
When I first met Boyfriend, his meals consisted of vienna sausages and rice! He's come a long way…He always insists he could go back to his old lifestyle at any point, but I'm pretty sure his food palate has changed too much to go back.
I cooked the broth some more, added some more soy sauce, and then made it with some thick potato starch noodles I found at the Korean store. He liked this version much better.
Beef Noodle Soup
- five spice packet
- soy sauce
- beef shank
- beef bones
1. Fill a large pot with water, about halfway full. Then add in the beef bones. I was able to buy a bag of beef bones at Ranch 99. You should be able to find them at your local asian supermarket. The bones are really big. I used about 5-6 bones in my pot. Cover pot with a lid and let simmer for an hour. As it simmers, the broth will develop some gray scum at the top as a result of the beef bones. Scoop out as much of it as you can with a large spoon.
2. Then add in chopped garlic and some soy sauce (I used maybe a quarter cup). Let broth simmer for another hour.
3. Add in beef shank. You can add in whole or cut into pieces. If you cut into pieces, the meat will cook faster. I forgot what the advantages of putting it in whole are. I tried to put mine in whole, but there wasn't enough room, so I ended up cutting mine.
4. Add in chinese five spice packet. I also purchased mine from Ranch 99. Let pot simmer for another hour.
5. Let the beef and broth sit overnight. The next day, add in more soy sauce until it suits your tastes. I added in approximately 3/4 cup. Simmer for another 1 1/2 hour, or until meat is very soft and tender. By this time, the beef soup should be ready. If the broth does not seem to have enough beef flavor or the meat is still hard, you can cook longer. If you cooked the beef shank whole, remove and cut into small chunks against the grain, before putting the meat back. You can use other types of beef cuts, but I really liked the beef shank. It has very little fat and has a lot of tendons, which creates for a very tender meat. No tendon meat tends to be very dry.
6. Boil noodles in a separate pot of hot water until cooked. Place cooked noodles into a bowl and pour hot beef noodle soup into bowl. Serve and enjoy! You can also add vegetables to your beef noodle soup. Often, bok choy is used.
7. With the remaining pot of soup (I made a lot since it takes so long to make), you can continue to reheat to further develop the flavor. If the pot of soup is boiled everyday, it can last for a few days without refrigeration.