Friday, April 15, 2016

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup Using Instant Pot

Finally getting around to putting up the recipe for beef noodle soup that I've fallen in love with! :D  Thanks so much to my mother-in-law for introducing this recipe to me and helping me make it the first time and translating the ingredient list!  I LOVE using my Instant pot for this and now I don't have to go out to eat one of my favorite comfort foods! It is awesome for making a large batch at once so that I can freeze into smaller servings later on for a quick meal.  It's also great for serving large groups of friends with out taking too much time away from guests on the night of the dinner since you can make most of it ahead of time. (^_^)v

Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup

Adapted from ET Kitchen *Seems like the video has been removed from YouTube. (>_<)
makes 15-20 servings


For beef soup base:
- 4.25 lb beef shank*
- 1 lb beef tendon (optional - if not using, get 5.25 lb of beef shank instead of 4.25)
- 1 medium daikon, peeled
- 2 cups pickled mustard greens, medium dice (酸菜)
- 2" piece of ginger, washed with skin on
- 2-3" piece of cinnamon broken into 3 pieces
- 1.5 TB of Sichuan peppercorns (can substitute black peppercorn if you can't find Sichuan)
- 2-3 pieces of whole star anise
- 3 heaping TB sweet flour sauce (aka sweet bean paste, sweet flour paste, 甜麵醬)
- 3 heaping TB bean sauce (aka bean paste, 豆瓣醬) or spicy bean sauce (辣豆瓣醬)
- 4 heaping TB ketchup
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (optional, if using regular tomatoes chop them into smaller pieces))
- 1.5 cups soy sauce
- 1/8 cup Shaoxing wine (optional)
- 6.5 cups water
- vegetable oil for stir frying

For serving:
- baby bok choy (usually 1/2 to 1 stalk per person if they are fairly large, if smaller I might use 2-3)
- Chinese wheat noodles - We usually use the Wu Mu (五木) brand of dry noodles in medium width
- chopped green scallions
- chopped cilantro (optional)
- 1 TB chicken bouillon + water for boiling noodles OR just use chicken broth)

Special Equipment
- large wok
- spice bag
- Instant Pot or other pressure cooker with 6qt capacity

*If you buy the beef shank from an Asian market, they usually come in a cut that's called banana beef shank as shown in the video linked below.  If you buy from an American market, they are usually bone-in and cut differently, but some butchers can de-bone it for you or cut it in the right shape if they have a large uncut piece in stock).

Before beginning, it is helpful to watch the YouTube video [unfortunately video seems to be no longer available] that this recipe is based on.  I made a few adjustments to ingredient amounts and added tomatoes in my version, but the steps are essentially the same as the video so it's helpful to see it live.

Chop daikon into large 2-3" chunks.  Cut ginger into 5-7 slices.  Roughly cut the beef shank into large 2-3" chunks, varying the angle of the cuts so you end up with different shapes and sizes for a more interesting "mouth feel." ^_^  Wash tendon and cut into 1-2" pieces.  Generally, you want to have the beef shank cut larger than the tendon as the tendon takes longer to soften, so by having smaller tendon chunks, that helps balance the cooking time between the two.

Heat 1TB of oil on high heat and once the oil is hot, stir fry the chopped pickled mustard greens for about 30 seconds until heated through and fragrant.  Remove and let cool.  Keep the burner on for next couple steps.

In the same wok, add 4 TB of oil and while the oil is still cold, add the star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns and stir fry until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Remove spices and set aside to cool before putting into spice bag.

In the hot wok with the leftover oil from frying the spices, add the ginger and stir fry it for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add the beef shank and tendon to the wok and brown for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, sweet flour sauce, (spicy) bean sauce, and ketchup to the wok.  Use a spatula while stir frying to make sure all the meat is evenly coated with the sauces.  Cook for another few minutes before removing it to your pressure cooker's pot.

Pour the soy sauce over the meat in the pressure cooker, along with the Shaoxing wine if using.  Stick the spice bag into the middle of the meat pile so it doesn't float to the top.

Add enough water to just cover the meat (about 6.5 cups in the Instant Pot).  Add the daikon on top.  Make sure not to exceed the max line of your pot.

Seal your pressure cooker and cook for 25-35 minutes (Meat/Stew setting on Instant Pot), depending on how soft you like your meat.  While the meat is cooking, wash and prep the bok choy, green onions, and cilantro if using.  When the meat is almost done, start bringing a large pot of water to boil, and add the chicken bouillon to it. Once it is boiling, blanch the bok choy for about a minute, then remove and set aside.  When the meat is done, carefully release the steam and open the lid.  Discard the spice bag.  Cook noodles in remaining water according to package instructions.

Divide noodles among large bowls and ladle in beef broth and noodle water into each bowl in a 1 to 2 ratio (or to your preference).  Add meat and bok choy, garnish with cilantro, green onions, and the pickled mustard greens (I don't serve the noodles with the daikon - you can discard or eat separately).

You can also scoop up the beef and daikon directly and serve it as a main dish with steamed rice (minus the broth, which is quite concentrated and salty by itself).

This recipe makes a huge batch of concentrated broth and stewed beef.  I like to divide up the remaining concentrated broth and meat into smaller batches once they have cooled and vacuum-seal it for the freezer so that I can have a quick meal ready on busy nights by just boiling noodles and blanching some veggies.  I also divide up the pickled mustard greens into smaller packages and freeze that too.


  1. Thank you for this recipe!! It tastes a lot like the soup we had at Din Tai Fung only better. I feel like I've been given a secret-it's so hard to know how to use all those interesting foods and condiments at my local Asian grocery store.

  2. Tried to watch the video, unfortunately it's not working. is there a better link? looking forward to making this. looks amazing

    1. Oooh thanks for letting me know. Unfortunately it seems like the video was removed from Youtube. :( I'll try to look for another similar one but everyone has their own way of doing things so it might be hard to find one exactly like the original video. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the steps, please let me know and I'll do my best to try and answer them!

  3. Hi, love your blog! So excited to try this recipe. Just wondering how tender do your shank & tendon get for this recipe. I've tried making it in instant pot for 30 minutes on manual High Pressure (thought I did not do the searing step like yours) and the tendon still came out tough. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting! I've been meaning to update that part of the timing (the original video that I based this recipe on, which is no longer up, used a stove top pressure cooker for just 15 minutes which is where my timing came from). It really depends on how large you cut the tendon pieces and how soft you like them. I would say 30 minutes for the size I cut my tendon (roughly 1-2" pieces) is enough. Some folks like it really melty and soft though, and you could go even 35-40 minutes but I find the meat sometimes gets too soft for my liking when that happens. I try to cut the meat pieces a little larger and the tendon smaller so that it evens out. ^_^;

    2. Thanks Mei-Ting! Yeah last time I made it, I cut the tendons too big. Our family loves the tendon soft. I totally agree with you on cutting the tendon a little smaller. I'm going to give your recipe a try next week. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  4. I just made this and it's absolutely amazing. I'm going to venture as far as to say that it's better than a lot of the beef noodles I had when I lived in Taiwan because I used prime meat (a combination of ribs and chuck). My apartment currently doesn't have gas so I did all the wok work at the beginning in my instant pot. When the meat was finished, I used my instant pot to boil water and cook the bok choy and noodles. (I boiled water in an electric kettle, added it to the instant pot on high saute function with some tinfoil over the pot.) Thank you so much: I never thought I'd be able to have good beef noodles in the US.

    1. Aw thank you so much! I’m so happy you liked it!

  5. I am curious what the purpose of the daikon is if you don't eat it. Does it add flavor to the broth?

    1. It adds a bit of sweetness to the broth - and you can eat it, it’s just not normally served in a bowl of beef noodle soup. Similarly when making pho you typically use a whole onion and ginger to add more depth and flavor to the broth but you take them out after it’s done cooking. :)

  6. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am going to make it tomorrow!! Just a quick question, for the bean you have the brand for what you used? The one I got said sweet bean sauce. I don't now if I got the right one. thanks!!

    1. Hi! The brand I use says it’s “Lian How Brand/Union International Food Co” on the back side of bottle. In Chinese on the front the characters of the brand is 聯合牌. The name of the ingredient in Chinese is up above in the ingredient list. Depending on how it’s translated for bean paste could also be “bean sauce” and sweet flour paste could be “sweet flour sauce”. It’s best to compare the Chinese characters to be 100% sure.