My Mom's Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

By • January 28, 2013 • 57 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.
Jump to Comments (57)

Comments (57) Questions (0)

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Stringio

28 days 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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10 months 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.

Stringio

10 months 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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10 months ago Travler2130

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

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10 months ago rebecca

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

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11 months 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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about 1 year ago Trena

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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about 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago Racr Ma

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

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over 1 year ago Travler2130

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

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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.

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over 1 year ago tillie

I made this as indicated with a light soy sauce and beef with alittle fat on it. It was divine yesterday and only improved today.I used rice sticks because I love 'em. They soaked up the flavor overnight in the broth like a sponge.Added a bit of fresh mint,coriander and it is an infallable recipe for deep fulfillment.Thank you so much for sharing it with the community!

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over 1 year ago Chef Tracy D

I made this for dinner last night. I couldn't find beef shanks at my grocery store so I used some beef stew meat instead. It was DELICIOUS!!!! This is definitely a keeper!

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over 1 year ago Alice Choi

OMG, love this!

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over 1 year ago More please

Good but way too salty. Perhaps low sodium suy sauce?

Stringio

over 1 year ago Treebird

I dont eat wheat. What noodle would be a good sub? Rice noodles an in Vietnamese pho?

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over 1 year ago The Cooking of Joy

Sure! Since they're already made to be used in a noodle soup, I think pho noodles would be a great non-wheat substitute!

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over 1 year ago helchose

I would think rice sticks would be fine.

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over 1 year ago Lil'BC

my mom's is very similar but we also use 1 small can of tomato sauce, and daikon (chopped into large chunks) instead of napa cabbage. so glad to see you are sharing the love of taiwanese niu rou mien :)

Stringio

over 1 year ago Heather Hal

I wonder if using beef cheek would work with this, what do you think? Perhaps the gelatinous aspect of the meat would work well with the spices.

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over 1 year ago The Cooking of Joy

I've never cooked beef cheek before, but a quick google shows that it's usually braised, so I think it would work just fine!

Stringio

over 1 year ago Heather Hal

Thank you! This will be my Sunday supper!