© 2014 marian

Niu Rou Mian

Niu Rou Mian is a surprisingly hard-to-find dish here in San Francisco. I have been searching high and low for a good bowl of it and so far, all my attempts to procure it have been disappointing. Good Taiwanese food, in general, is pretty difficult to find in San Francisco so I made it my mission to recreate the soup at home. I read many recipes on the internet, and many of them called for lots of ingredients that I didn’t have or didn’t have patience to make, like homemade beef broth and exotic spice bouquets. I am here to tell you the canned/ready-made beef broth works just fine and I will never have to drive all the way to Santa Clara for my niu rou mian fix again! In fact, it was so close to my favorite bowl from A&J’s, that I no longer feel anxious about my next visit (or maybe I’m just deluded and niu rou mian deprived).

Slow Cooker Niu Rou Mian – Spicy Beef Noodle Soup


8 cups beef broth

1.5 lbs stew beef or short ribs

1/2 head garlic, smashed and minced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 small dried chilis

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon white peppercorns

1 tablespoon five-spice powder

1/2 tablespoon ginger powder

1/2 cup soy sauce

1-3 tablespoons chili bean paste (depending on how spicy you like it)

bok choy


4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 to 1 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt



sour pickled mustard greens


For the soup:

Cut the beef into cubes of about 2-3 inches then braise the beef in a pan with a little oil till all sides are browned. In the slow cooker, combine 4 cups of beef broth, garlic, onion, chilies, bay leaves, peppercorns, soy sauce, chili¬†paste, five-spice, and ginger powder and stir till all the powders are dissolved. Add the beef and cook on low for about 6-8 hours. At this point, the beef should be nice and soft and falling apart. Do a little taste test on the broth and see if it needs more/less soy sauce or if it is too spicy or not enough. I personally put 3 tablespoons of the chili paste in my broth and it was insanely spicy, but that’s how I like my soup. Warning: the soup is NOT drinkable at this point–it’s basically a concentrate to which you will add broth and water till it suits your taste. Remove the beef cubes and set aside in a separate bowl. Use a fine mesh strainer to fish everything out of the soup till you have just the broth. Transfer the soup to a stock pot and add the remaining beef broth. Do another taste test to see if the broth is to your taste. Add water if you need to dilute it further. Add the beef cubes back into the broth and the bok choy. Pour over your noodles, garnish with sliced scallions and mustard greens.

For the noodles:

I made these using a stand-up mixer and the dough attachment and I used the Xi’an Famous Foods recipe found on Andrew Zimmern’s blog. It was a pain in the ass but it tasted amazing. ¬†If you don’t have time to do this, I’m sure ready-made noodles work just fine.

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