Grandma's Secret Ingredient for Chinese Beef Noodle Soup? Just a Little Rum

4 years ago

Now that I live off-campus, I've realized how much I crave home cooking. I didn't miss it while living off of dining hall food, but that's probably because they distracted me with differently disguised fat.

While I'm trying to eat a balanced, temporarily omnivorous diet (earlier this week I realized that I haven't been eating enough protein), I try to find recipes that are more protein-based rather than carb-based. The good thing about this recipe is that it can be tweaked to reflect either!


Image: Courtesy of Mishfish13


Thankfully, my grandma has taught me her authentic Chinese Beef Noodle Soup recipe! And because I'm such a savvy cook (ha-ha) I can cook this for myself anytime! I usually try not to eat red meat though, so maybe not.

Chinese Beef Noodle Soup has always been a favorite dish of mine. Usually, Asian dishes are meant for everyone, to be shared and paired with a bowl of rice. However, when you ordered a bowl of Chinese Beef Noodle Soup, people knew you were serious about gettin' your grub on. How could I have packed on the fat if not for this?

It's simple and easily replicated so that you don't have to go to a Chinese restaurant to get your Beef Noodle Soup fix! The next time you go to a Chinese restaurant, you can focus your taste buds on trying new dishes!


Serves 4-5


ingredients: before
  • Beef shank [2 lbs, chopped into pieces, usually large bite-size pieces. Remember: The smaller the piece, the quicker it cooks!]
  • Green onions/scallions [1 bunch, ends trimmed, chopped in half] 
  • Garlic [1 whole bulb, peeled. You can choose to chop in large chunks]
  • Soybean paste [1.5 tbsp]
  • Star anise [8 pieces] (optional)
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Ginger [peeled, sliced 1/2 stem]
  • Sugar
  • Bacardi [2 ladles] (Grandma's special kick)






  • Bunch of spinach


Cover the bottom of the pot with vegetable oil and place garlic, ginger, and green onion in to sauté until the garlic is browned. Add the soybean paste and stir, making sure it is evenly distributed.
Grandma: "Browning the garlic makes the flavor come out. Smells good, right?"
Add the beef shank pieces and stir, adding the 2 ladles of Bacardi in while doing so.
IMG_1185 As the beef is browning on the outside, first add 2-3 ladles of soy sauce. Then 2 tbsp of sugar.

Grandma: "Taste it to see if you like it!"

Me: "But... the beef isn't fully cooked ye—OK."
IMG_1186 Add 4 cups of water, or however much gives you the ratio of meat to soup that you like. Add a few more ladles of soy sauce, to taste. If still not to taste, or, if you're a poor college student like me, add some salt because that soy sauce ain't cheap. And we don't use it often enough to get the huge Chinese family economy size.
IMG_1187 Once it's to taste, put in the star anise. Bring to boil. This is optional: not everyone's a fan of anise. Personally, I'll leave this step out when cooking for myself.
IMG_1189 Now, the beef is currently really chewy. If your jaw needs a little definition, go ahead and eat it now with some noodles! However, most of us don't really want veiny jaws. So, grab that Crock-Pot and fill it up with the concoction. Set it on high for about 2 hours, which will make the beef less stringy and more melt-in-your-mouth.
IMG_1190 During the last hour, if you want to add some vegetables to the Beef Noodle Soup, a common option is spinach. Take into consideration how spinach will alter the taste. Usually it adds some water and dilutes the taste, so you may need to add more soy sauce, or use less water.
Once it's done, boil a large pot of water and put in some noodles. I'm told that these noodles cook strangely. The minute you put the noodles into the boiling water, start stirring immediately because they stick really easily. Bring to a boil 3 times, each time adding a cup of lukewarm water in between boils. When it's done—try a few noodles here and there—drain, and put it in a ready bowl of the soup.


Storage tips for the busy college student: For storing, keep the noodles separate from the soup stock.
To prevent the noodles from becoming one giant block of no-fun carbs, add a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil while boiling the water for noodles.

If you still have sticky noodles, rinse them under cold water immediately after cooking. Stir/pull it while rinsing.

Grandma: "It also washes away the excess carbs! Yay weight loss!"

The noodles will probably keep up to 5 days, so keep in mind that if you cook the entire serving size, you will be eating this at least once a day until it's gone.

For similar recipes and the occasional laugh, check out my blog at Mishfish13

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