Taiwanese beef noodle soup (Serves 4)
3 large onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, pressed
100g ginger, thickly sliced
4 spring onions, chopped
8 star anise
1kg beef shank or shin, cut into chunks (keep the bones)
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 large carrots, chopped (thick slices)
4 plum tomatoes or 150g rosa tomatoes, skinned
1 tbs Chinese five-spice
¼ cup orange juice
1 packet (300g) egg noodles
¼ cup rice wine
1 tsp - ¼ cup brown sugar
handful chopped coriander
1 spring onion, chopped
pickled mustard leaves
In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat oil and sauté onion until golden.
Add garlic, ginger, spring onions and star anise, and cook until onions are golden brown. Remove from pan and place in a bowl.
Drizzle more oil into the pot and add the beef (and bones - they add rich flavour). Fry until the meat has browned.
Add a dash of soy sauce and continue to fry for 2 minutes, adding more soy sauce to “red roast” the beef.
Add the carrots, tomatoes, Chinese five-spice and orange juice (and rice wine and sugar if using), and stir.
Return the onion mix to the pot and add about 5 cups of water to cover all the ingredients.
Boil for 5 minutes then lower heat to a slow simmer for 1½ to 2 hours. You might need to top up the water. Leave a wooden spoon in the soup to prevent it from boiling over, and cover the pot.
Boil the egg noodles. Add a drop of oil to the water to keep the strands from sticking to one another and the pot. Rinse the noodles in cool water to keep them chewy.
Blanch the bok choy in a separate pot, if using.
Add salt and chilli to the soup according to taste.
Place a handful of noodles in a serving bowl, ladle in the soup and some meat (and add the bok choy). If you like, garnish with coriander, spring onion and strips of pickled-mustard leaves.
* The dish will still have a rad flavour if you leave the optional ingredients out.