Now that you have amazing handmade noodles, you need something equally amazing to eat those noodles with, right? Enter one of my all time favorites - Niu Rou Mien aka Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. I love this stuff. One of my coworkers makes us go to the same exact place EVERY week and orders this dish so that he can get his weekly fix, and I more than happily oblige.
Usually, this dish is served with a nice thick layer of spicy red oil on top of the broth, but alas, when I'm cooking at home, I can't bring myself to knowingly eat it that way, so I refrigerate the broth overnight and skim off the solidified fat. It's still yummy, but if you chose not to skim off the fat, it'll only make it better.
Additionally, making a batch of Niu Rou Mien is the perfect opportunity to impart some of these great flavors into a few other otherwise ingredients. Personally, I really like the flavor of carrots that have been stewed in the broth, so I always toss a few of those in. I adore soy sauce eggs and this broth is perfect for making them, so I always make sure to cook up a batch of those too whenever I'm making this dish. Other things typical items that you can toss in there are dou gan (bean curd - kinda like a super firm tofu) and seaweed.
Now onto the second most important part - how to make this dish. (The most important part is actually eating it)
- Handmade noodles (recipe here)
- Beef (traditionally beef shank, but any stew meat will do. I used chuck this time)
- Beef Tendon (totally optional. some people like it, some don't)
- Water or Beef or Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- Soy sauce (to taste)
- Brown sugar (to taste)
- 1-2 sprigs of Green onions
- 3-4 cloves of Garlic
- 3-5 slices of Ginger
- 3-5 Star anise
- Dried chili peppers (to taste)
- Sichuan peppercorns (to taste)
Optional additions that I used:
- Peeled hard-boiled eggs
- Put the meat, tendon and carrots if you're using them, ginger, garlic, scallions, spices, etc (basically everything but the eggs) in a pressure cooker or heavy bottomed pot. If you're not using a pressure cooker, go ahead and stick the eggs too. If you are, I don't imagine pressure cooked eggs to be a pretty sight (though I've never tried it), so leave those out for now.
- Fill the pot with the liquid of your choice until the meat is barely covered.
- Add soy sauce and brown sugar to taste. You can always water down the broth later if you add too much, or add more if it's too bland.
- Bring everything to a boil. If you're using a pressure cooker, let it cook at maximum pressure for about 20-30 minutes and let the pressure come down naturally, or until the meat is fall apart tender. If you're using a pot, either simmer it on the stovetop or put it into a 350 degree oven for a few hours until the meat is fall apart tender.
- Take out everything but the spices, ginger, scallion and garlic and set it aside.
- Strain the broth. If you used a pressure cooker and want to make soy sauce eggs, put the eggs in and let it simmer for at least an hour (the longer the better though) so that the color and flavor penetrates the egg.
- If you want, refrigerate the broth overnight to remove the layer of fat on top.
- Now it's time to serve! In a bowl, put some noodles, a bit of the broth (and some water if it's too salty), and a few slices of the beef. Garnish it with some bok choy, carrots, soy sauce egg, pickled cabbage, green onions, parsley, etc.
- Slurp and enjoy!