Cold soba noodles in beef broth (延吉冷面)

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

It has been very hot in England in the last few days. Everyone in our Red House has been craving  something cool and refreshing for dinner. I dug up a recipe from my food-related memories of China and presented one of my favourite summer dishes: Cold soba noodles in beef broth (Yanji cold noodles 延吉冷面).

It’s a speciality of the Chinese-Korean minority population living in Yanji city(延吉), Jilin province in the North-east of China. Because of its unique flavour, beautiful presentation and popularity across the country, cold soba noodles in beef broth is considered to be among the top 10 Chinese noodle dishes.

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

The beef broth: tasty & cool

Unlike many other Chinese cold noodle dishes which are served with dressing, this Chinese-Korean style noodle dish is served in a cold, spiced beef broth. It’s a pretty simple process to make the broth but it takes at least a hour to cook the beef chunks. Usually I prepare it the night before. Then leave it in the fridge overnight.

In some Chinese restaurants, you can get ice cubes in the broth for this cold soba noodle dish. I do like the coolness but don’t really fancy the idea that the tasty broth is diluted by water. To achieve a similar effect, I place the broth in the freeze for a short while until ice fragments begin to form.

Before serving, add white rice vinegar, sugar and salt to the broth. This is to provide a nice sour taste with a hint of sweetness.

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

The soba noodles: elastic & slippery

In the authentic version, soba noodles are used for this dish. They are brown-coloured, thin noodles made from buckwheat flour (gluten-free) or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour. They have a nutty flavour and an elastic texture. Dried soba noodles are widely available both in mainstream supermarkets in the UK and Chinese / Asian stores.

It’s worth noting that you need to “wash” the cooked noodles under running water in order to get rid of most of the remaining starch. This way the noodles will be smooth and slippery, a perfect texture for a cold dish.

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

The topping: colourful & healthy

The broth is cooled and the noodles are “washed”. Now let’s place a rainbow topping to complete this wonderful cold soba noodle dish.

  1. Thin, tender slices of beef. When cooled in the fridge the beef chunks go harder thus it’s very easy to cut them into thin slices. An extra tip: If you can’t finish all the beef slices, keep them in the fridge then serve as another dish with a simple dipping sauce (You can use the Easy Chinese Dressing that I introduced earlier).
  2. Slices of crunchy fruit. Apple and Asian pear (aka Nashi pear) are the classic choices.
  3. Julienned cucumber (skin-on and seeds-in).
  4. Boiled egg. You can cook it in your preferred way, soft boiled or hard boiled.
  5. Kimchi. It’s a type of salted, fermented vegetable (it mainly consists of Chinese / napa cabbage) very popular in Korean cuisine. It has a savoury, sweet and spicy taste.
  6. Red chilli paste. It’s a Korean spicy condiment known as Gochujang.
  7. Sesame seed.

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

Cold soba noodles in beef broth (延吉冷面)
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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2 persons

Cold soba noodles in beef broth (延吉冷面)

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

Ingredients

    For braising the beef
  • 500g / 18oz beef shank or beef brisket, cut into large chunks
  • 1200ml / 5 cups water
  • 2 stalks spring onion, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 1 star-anise
  • 1 small piece cassia cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
  • 1 pinch fennel seeds (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon rock sugar or regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For two bowls of broth
  • 2☓4 teaspoons white rice vinegar
  • 2☓1 pinch sugar
  • 2☓1 pinch salt
  • You also need
  • 170g / 6oz dried soba noodles
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 apple, sliced
  • 200g / 7oz cucumber, julienned
  • Kimchi, to taste
  • Red chilli paste (aka Gochujang), to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Blanch beef in boiling water then drain. In a clean pot, add beef, water, spices and seasonings. Bring water to a boil then leave to simmer for 1-1.5 hours.
  2. When completely cool, place beef and broth (discard spring onion, ginger, spices and the fat floating on the surface if there is any) in separate containers. Store in the fridge for at least 1 hour (see note 1).
  3. Cook soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse under running water to cool fully.
  4. Meanwhile boil egg. Peel and halve it.
  5. Pour cooled broth into two large serving bowls. Add vinegar, sugar and salt. Cut the beef into thin slices (see note 2).
  6. Place the noodles into two bowls. Top with beef, egg, apple, cucumber, kimchi and red chilli paste. Sprinkle sesame seeds over.

Notes

1. The beef chunks need to be cooled in the fridge before slicing (otherwise it falls apart easily). If you’d like the broth even cooler, place it in the freezer for a short while until ice fragments begin to form.

2. You are likely to have leftover beef slices, keep them in the fridge for the next meal. They taste delicious with a simple dipping sauce (You can use the Easy Chinese Dressing that I introduced earlier).

https://redhousespice.com/cold-soba-noodles/

If you are experiencing hot weather as we are these days, I hope this cold soba noodle dish makes you feel cooler. Check out other COOL recipes below for summer meal inspiration.

Happy cooking!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Dishes that keep you cool in hot weather:

Chinese-style spaghetti salad (凉拌意面)

Spinach and soybean salad with ginger dressing (姜汁菠菜毛豆)

Slippery noodles in ice cold soup, served with various healthy toppings, cold soba noodles in beef broth is a perfect dish to cool you down in hot weather.

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