As I was researching recipes to include in my Year of the Panda dinner menu, I knew I wanted to represent the various regions of China, so I looked for meals that would be considered typical of each area. I learned that Lanzhou is well known for their Beef Noodles dish. I thought I would try making that for my menu, so I started researching just that recipe itself.
I came across this Lanzhou Beef Noodles recipe from Omnivore’s Cookbook and well, in addition to falling in love with Maggie’s photography and writing, I decided I couldn’t make this traditional Lanzhou dish for my meal. Maggie offers such a majestic description of the dish, and the process of hand pulling the noodles – she likens the process to that of sushi making in Japan – a feat that takes years to master and is an art to be honored.
I would very much love to travel to China and taste this incredible dish, and I would also love to learn to make it. I believe that traditional recipes and practices like this deserve to be honored. So even though I do know how to make sushi at home, and I will one day learn to hand pull noodles in Lanzhou, you will not see such recipes on my website. I could never do such tradition justice.
So Dear Readers, we will have to settle with this very flavorful, completely improvised, and not at all like the original, Chinese 5 Spice Beef and Noodles. My recipe is not authentically Chinese, but it does borrow some authentically Chinese flavors. My husband and I enjoyed every last bite and slurp of this soup the few times I have made it. With all the cold weather and rain we’ve having, I foresee this soup frequently in our near future.
Chinese 5 Spice Beef and Noodles is a fairly simple dish to make. The most difficult part being slicing the beef super thin. I place the entire raw steak in the freezer, then use my sharpest knife to slice as thinly as I can. Freezing the beef makes it easier to slice, and the super thin slices thaw it out instantly.
The super thin steak gets a marinade before being added to the piping hot noodle soup. Serve with your favorite toppings and accompaniments to make this dish your own.
- 1 pound filet mignon
- 2 fluid ounces (1/4 cup) low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice
- 1 quart low-sodium beef broth
- 1 package udon or other wide noodle
- optional toppings:
- lime wedges
- garlic slices
- ginger slices
- baby corn
- bok choy
- Place the beef in the freezer overnight to freeze solid. Remove from the freezer and use a very sharp knife to slice thinly.
- In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, sugar, and Chinese 5 spice. Place the thinly sliced beef in the bowl and stir to coat. Allow to marinade at room temperature 20 minutes, or up to overnight in the fridge.
- Place the beef broth in a medium to large sized sauce pot, and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions, then add to the hot beef broth.
- Gently add the beef to the hot beef broth and stir to mix. The beef will cook in the hot broth.
- Serve immediately with desired toppings.