Beef noodle, mainly prepared as a soupy dish, exists in different variations throughout East and Southeast Asia. Beef noodle soup has been popularized in the west by the Chinese, where it has evolved into further variations, absorbing the western cooking techniques and ingredients. In the traditional sense of the term, beef noodle basically refers to the Chinese noodle soup that involves Chinese noodles, vegetables and beef, all stewed together in a beef broth.
In Taiwan, Beef and Noodles comes in three common preparations, namely - Innovative Beef Noodle, Clear Stewed Beef Noodle and Braised Beef Noodle. The beef soup noodles, as the dish is popularly called in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, finds a common place in the restaurant menus, and can be relished even at a surprisingly inexpensive rate, if the dish only uses beef broth and no beef chunks, delighting both the locals and tourists on a budget.
Classic Beef & Noodles Recipe Overview
The Classic Beef Noodle recipe, which is popular in the US cuisine and often called Grandma’s Beef Noodles, suggests the entire cooking to be done in slow-cooker or Crockpot. The dish is prepared by slow-cooking the combination of beef, beef broth, sherry, bay leaf, pepper, oregano, salt, garlic, mushrooms, onion and marjoram for some 8 to 10 hours approximately. As the cooking nears completion, a sour cream mixture is mixed into it for texture. This hot and steaming broth is then poured over cooked noodles, garnished and served.
Serving and Eating Beef Noodle
Originated by the Islamic ethnic Chinese community called “Hui” in China, during the Tang Dynasty, the beef noodle soup used to be served in a large bowl as a standalone meal, sans side dishes. Today, in some regions of China, people prefer to relish this dish with Suan Cai, a vegetable side dish. In Taiwan, where beef noodle has its own fan following, being one of the national dishes, it is commonly sold by the vendors as a street fare with an optional side dish, which is preferably a cold dish like Braised Dried Tofu, Pork Intestine or Seaweed.
Beef Noodles Recipes from Different Cuisines
Chinese Beef Noodles – The Chinese beef noodle recipes come in several variations. If soy sauce is used, then the recipe is that of Braised Beef Noodles or Red Roasted Beef Noodles, which suggest stir-frying the stewed meat in a spicy Doubanjiang like sauce, before being added to the noodle soup. Many Chinese recipes recommend slow cooking the dish for 24 hours. The broth for this dish can come in various styles and bases including tomato, herbal, spicy to garlic. The Chinese Muslim style beef noodle has a clear broth base, often employing halal meat, but excluding soy sauce. Salt, star anise, red chilies, green onions and white pepper form the common ingredient assortment for this Muslim version.
Beef and Noodle Casserole – This oven-baked dish which has evolved in the American cuisine in the recent years, is a ground beef casserole combining sherry, cheese, tomato sauce gravy, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, beans and egg noodles.
Skillet Beef and Noodles – The entire dish is cooked in a skillet, using ingredients like ground beef, celery, onion, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, pimientos, bell peppers, salt, noodles, milk and Worcestershire sauce.
Beef Stroganoff Noodles – Yet another favorite from the west, this recipe calls for cooking the beef stroganoff separately by cooking beef tips or strips, onion, mushrooms, dill etc. in a gravy base made of beef broth, flour, sour cream and seasoning. This hot gravied beef is then served over cooked noodles.
Vietnamese Beef & Noodle (Pho Bo) – This dish, best made in a soup pot or Dutch oven, uses boy choy, noodles, soy sauce, beef broth, water, beef, basil and bean sprouts, all of which are cooked together.
Thai Beef and Noodle Soup – The Thai version of beef noodles, eaten for the main course, employs a wide range of local ingredients such as garlic, lime leaves, chili, ginger, lemongrass, coriander leaves, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, pak choy leaves, been strips, carrot, celery, leek, coconut milk, noodles, fish sauce and lime juice.
Beef Noodle Trivia
- Mr. Lee, the largest fast food chain of China, is well-known for its beef noodles.
- Every year, Taipei in Taiwan, organizes the annual Beef Noodle Festival, a place where the best known restaurants and chefs compete against each other to create the best beef noodles.