My Mom's Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

By • January 28, 2013 • 70 Comments

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Author Notes: My mom is the best cook I know, and I'm not just saying that because she's my mom. Not only doe she make some awesomely impressive dishes for potlucks and the like, she also makes awesome everyday dishes just for us, and the best thing is, she's self-taught. One of the dishes that my brother and I always demand she makes when we're home is niu ro mien, or Taiwanese beef noodle soup. Actually, the translation is a little misleading because it's not exactly niu ro tang mien (tang means soup in Mandarin). The dish my mom makes doesn't have a whole lot of soup (although you could just add beef broth if you wanted, I suppose), it's more like a healthy amount of sauce.The Cooking of Joy

Food52 Review: With a little advance planning, this recipe easily became a new favorite. The two hour braise is worth it: the beef is tender and full of flavor, simultaneously sweet and salty. The cabbage adds a little crunch and tempers the soup's flavor so that nothing overwhelms the palate. There's a stroke of genius here: The Cooking of Joy instructs you to serve the dish with ladles of the sauce thinned with some of the pasta water, creating a broth that doesn't overpower in flavor or texture. If my mom had made this for me as a child, I would surely request it on my visits home!Brianne Du Clos

Serves 6

  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef shank, cut into 3/4" pieces
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons rock sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tomato, skinned and roughly chopped
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1 small head napa cabbage, washed and cut into 3" pieces
  1. In a large saucepan, saute the first four ingredients in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook until just browned.
  2. Add the wine, soy sauce, water, sugar, and tomato and heat to boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 2 hours.
  3. About 15 minutes before the beef is done, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook while stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add the napa cabbage and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain off most of the water.
  4. Divide the noodles and cabbage among 6 large bowls, adding a little of the excess hot water. Add the beef on top and ladle in some of the sauce, making sure to remove the star anise.
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Comments (70) Questions (0)

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about 1 month ago tina

I love this recipe! It's fantastic just as you wrote it, but since I had time I cut the beef in larger chunks and braised it for 3 hrs (with +1/2 cup of water). I added 1/2 tsp of rice vinegar to give it a little brightness. I also strained the soup before serving just for presentation purposes. Thank you! I can't wait to make this for my mom one day (she's Taiwanese :) !)

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about 1 month ago The Cooking of Joy

You're welcome! I hope your mom likes it, too. Did you happen to post any pictures of your finished product? I'd love to see them. =)

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about 1 month ago Jamie Ward

WOW!! What a great tasting soup. I may have eaten FOUR servings! WHOOPSIES!

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about 1 month ago The Cooking of Joy

Haha, glad you liked it!

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about 1 month ago Jamie Ward

The beef is braising and I cannot wait to finish this dish.

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3 months ago J Hu

This is a great recipe. Thanks for sharing! I've made it twice and everyone loves it!

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3 months ago The Cooking of Joy

You're welcome! I'm glad everyone loved it!

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4 months ago emcsull

what a terrific soup, Joy, my thanks to you and your mother. Lovely and pungent. My chinese cabbage did not stay in attractive little bundles like in the picture, but just fell apart. It tasted good anyhow !

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4 months ago The Cooking of Joy

You're welcome! I have a feeling the cabbage bundles in James' picture were artfully arranged after the soup was plated ;) If you look at my picture it's a lot messier, but still very yummy!

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4 months ago cream cheese

I made this with savoy cabbage and mung bean noodles--the results were a sheer delight. It was also GREAT reheated for lunch the next day. I recommend a little Sriracha or red pepper flakes to spice things up!

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4 months ago Tanya

I've made this a couple of times now and absolutely love it. I didn't think it would be so easy to make such a satisfying noodle soup at home with such few ingredients and steps. Blogging about this to spread the love. Thanks!

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4 months ago The Cooking of Joy

Yay, you're welcome! I'm glad you liked it! Looking forward to seeing your blog post about it.

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6 months ago Jenny Hoffman

This was so delicious! We didn't have rice wine, used sherry and little sugar instead. Would make this again in a heartbeat!

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over 1 year ago Evelyn

I made this today for my family potluck and got raves from my Taiwanese relatives. This recipe is actually pretty easy and the result is very flavorful.

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over 1 year ago Pam Chapman

This soup sounds wonderful! I am on a strict diet and would like to know the calorie and nutritional information on the soup. Thanks, PC

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over 1 year ago Travler2130

My husband also has diabetes. I sub agave syrup for sugar and use half the amount called for.

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over 1 year ago rebecca

My husband has type 2 diabetes, what do suggest instead of the sugar?

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2 months ago Barb168

Stevia!

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over 1 year ago ECMotherwell

Another rave for this recipe -- it's DELICIOUS! Due a last-moment choice to make this and to spotty grocery offerings, I had to make a few subs: beef ribs for shank (excellent!) and ground anise seed plus a pinch of all-spice for star anise, which was not bad! Looking forward to trying it with star anise...

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over 1 year ago Trena Heinrich

I just made this soup for the first time tonight and I cannot believe that I've made something so delicious. Just. Make. This. Soup. Thank you for sharing your mom's delicious recipe!

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over 1 year ago The Cooking of Joy

You're welcome! I'm so glad everyone likes it!

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over 1 year ago kgindermaur

This recipe is excellent. The brown sugar, rice wine, star anise, and ginger bring out some wonderful flavors in the normally tough beef shank. Savory and delicious!

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almost 2 years ago Yazoolulu

This is a wonderful recipe. I made it the other night and used shredded green and purple cabbage because I didn't have napa. Squeezed fresh lime juice in at the end and garnished with fresh mint and basil. It was a big hit.

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about 2 years ago KarenNJ

I made it last night and it was one of the best dishes I've ever made! A definite keeper. Thanks so much for sharing!

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about 2 years ago Racr Ma

I eat gluten free- used mai fun noodles instead....

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about 2 years ago Travler2130

This was fantastic! I followed the recipe exact. It will be a go too recipe.

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about 2 years ago KarenNJ

I just made a batch of homemade beef broth. Do you think this would be a good alternate to the water, or do you think the flavor would be too strong? I can't wait to try this!

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about 2 years ago The Cooking of Joy

I think it would be great! But check the saltiness level of the broth before using. If it's pretty salty, I'd definitely scale back on the soy sauce.