Spicy beef noodle soup (香辣牛肉面)
A bowl of noodles in well spiced broth topped with tender beef cubes, spicy beef noodle soup is hot, fragrant and very comforting indeed.
For stewing the beef
- 600 g beef, cut in cubes 21oz
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoon Sichuan chilli bean paste see note 1
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- 1500 ml hot water 6½ cups
- 1 thumb-sized ginger
- 2 stalks scallions, cut in sections
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star-anise
- 1 small piece Chinese cinnamon/cassia cinnamon
- 10 Sichuan pepper
- 1 pinch fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon sugar
You also need:
- 4 portions noodles see note 2
- Spinach or pak choi / bok choy
- Fresh coriander, chopped
Prepare the soup
Heat up oil in a wok (or a deep frying pan) over medium heat. Stir in garlic, Sichuan chilli bean paste and chilli powder.
Cook until fragrant (do not burn). Pour in 1500ml (6½ cups) hot water. Cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
Simmer the beef
Through a sieve, pour the spiced soup into the beef pot. Add ginger, scallions and all the other spices (see note 3).
Bring the soup to a boil then simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours. Once the beef becomes tender cooked, discard the ginger, scallions and spices.
1. Different brands of Sichuan chilli bean paste (aka spicy Doubanjiang, 辣豆瓣酱) may vary in saltiness, hotness and texture. Adjust the volume accordingly. Best to use Pixian Douban, a well-known variety, which needs to be coarsely chopped prior to cooking.
2. You may use fresh noodles or dried noodles. In terms of volume, I usually cook about 80-100g / 2.8-3.5 oz dried noodles for each person. Follow the instructions on the package. Please note that you are not supposed to boil the noodles in the beef broth since the starch coming off the noodles will change the flavour and the consistency of the broth.
3. If available, use a closed tea strainer to keep spices in while simmering. Later you will be able to discard them easily.
4. You may freeze the meat and soup in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge then heat up again prior to serving.