Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup

Here is one of the most popular street dishes in China, the Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup, or 川味红烧牛肉面. A bowl of chewy pulled noodle, covered in a warm, savory, spicy, and mouth-numbing beef soup, with tender braised beef that melts in your mouth. You can find them in a noodle shop on the street, or on the table of fancy restaurant; your mom or grandma would let it simmer all night so you can have a hot bowl of noodle and broth on a cold winter morning, or you can enjoying it with a cold bottle of Snow beer (a very cheap Chinese beer) on a hot summer night after watching a football match.

Though beef is not commonly eaten in China, however, braised beef is a classic dish in Sichuanese cuisine. The water buffalo indigenous to this mouthiness region has tough muscles that not suitable for stir fry, thus the only way to cook it is to either thinly slice the meat, or braise it slowly in flavorful stew.  This dish usually uses the shank of beef for it’s lean muscle and tendon, but we will use chuck roast instead.


You’ll Need:

  • 500 g or 1.1 lb beef chuck (choose fattier cuts)
  • 100 ml or 1/2 cup cooking rice wine
  • 10 g or 1/3 oz tomato paste
  • 10 g or 1/3 oz dark soy sauce
  • 15 g or 1/2 oz doubanjiang/chinese chili bean sauce
  • 15 g or 1/2 oz hoisin sauce
  • 5 g or 1/6 oz sichuan peppercorn
  • 5 g or 1/6 oz coriander seed
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 dried chili

How to make this:

  1. Cut the beef chuck into 2 cm (1 inch) cubes, then, place the meat in 0.7 liter (3 cups) of cold water with cooking wine over medium heat, bring it to a boil, skim off the surface foam, and rinse the meat clean. Save the hot water for later use.
  2. In a stew pot, add some oil over medium-high heat, when the oil start smoking, add in the Sicilian peppercorn, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, bay leave, coriander seed and dried chili, stir the spices until the oil become aromatic. Spoon out the spices and tie them into a muslin cloth, then add the garlic and spring onion into the same pot, lightly fry them in the oil.
  3. Add the sugar into the oil, let it brown lightly, then add the blanched beef into the pot/pan. Searing all sides of the beef, then add the dark soy sauce, Doubanjiang, Hoisin Sauce and tomato paste, stir until the beef is covered by the sauce and turn dark brown,
  4. Add the still warm beef broth into the pot with the lightly fried spice bag, bring it to a boil, cover with lid, then lower the heat to low, and let it simmer for 90 min (at least).
  5. Pick out the spice bag, raise the heat to high and condense to stew (for about 3 min) slightly for a thicker stew. Sever the stew over some lamian/pulled noodle, and sprinkle on some chopped green onion and coriander, with a splash of hot chili oil,

*The reason this recipe does’t have any salt is because all the Doubanjiang and Hoisin sauce are very salty, so don’t add any salt.

*If you can’t find the ingredients,  sichuan peppercorn, dark soy sauce, doubanjiang and oisin Sauce  can be find in most Chinese/Asian market, coriander seed, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, cloves is basically five spice.

*My grandma like to replace the tomato paste with ketchup for a sweeter/more acidic taste.

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