Beef noodle soup

Beef ball noodle soup
One of the things I miss most about the Bay Area, is the abundance of south-east Asian restaurants. Yes we have our share of Thai and Vietnamese places here with a small sprinkling of Malaysian, but they are passable at best, often laden with MSG and salt. The worst part is that they miss the the whole point of being “cheap asian food” by being expensive.

Being a noodle soup fanatic, I especially miss having good Pho and Kuai Tiao Neua (Thai beef noodle soup). Both the noodles and soup are light and refreshing, making a perfect 1 bowl meal on even the hottest summer day. Back in the Bay, there’s a Thai Buddhist temple off MLK in Berkeley that makes a $5 bowl of noodles on Sundays that is indistinguishable from something you’d get from a street vendor in Bangkok.

Rather than continue my futile search for a descent bowl of beef noodle soup in Manhattan, I decided to try making it myself. While I can’t vouch for its authenticity, eating this sent me back to a steamy Bangkok street, tuk-tuks and all.

Spices for beef noodle soup
Spices for the soup: cinnamon stick, ginger, cilantro stems & roots, garlic, peppercorns, star anise

for stock
2 lbs ox tail
10 C water
1 star anise
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves garlic
1 knob of ginger sliced
small handful of cilantro roots/stems
1 yellow onion peeled and quartered
1 Tbs brown sugar (or more to taste)
2 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
salt to taste

for bowl
8 oz rice “stick” noodles rehydrated in warm water
6 beef balls (I like to make my own, but you can buy them at an asian grocery)
1/4 sweet onion sliced thin
fried garlic chips & oil
Meicai (Hakka preserved vegetables) rehydrated and chopped.
1 jalepeno pepper sliced
cilantro leaves
lime wedges

First, boil a large pot of water; add the ox tail and boil for about 7 minutes. What you’re trying to do here is to get all the foamy floaty stuff out of the oxtail so your soup comes out nice and clear. Dump this out through a strainer discarding the water, rinse the pot then thoroughly clean each piece of oxtail.

Add the cleaned ox tail and 10 cups of fresh water into the pot along with the star anise, peppercorns, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems/roots, and onion. Bring it to a boil then lower the heat to low, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours (the longer you go, the more depth your soup will have).

While you’re waiting you can make some garlic chips by mandolining a few garlic cloves then adding them to a few tablespoons of hot oil over medium heat. Stir to ensure even browning then remove to a paper towel lined plate when they reach a nice golden brown.

When it’s done, pass the soup through a strainer into another pot skimming off any excess oil. Season with the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and salt. I tend to go light on the salt as some of the condiments I add have some salt in them, but if you’re not planning on adding anything later, feel free to give it a bit more salt. Pick the meat off the bones and set aside.

Condiments for beef ball noodle soupTo serve, boil a large pot of water, add the rehydrated rice noodles, stirring until the water comes to a boil again (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, reheat the beef balls in the soup. When the noodles are done, strain them through colander and add to the bowls. Top the noodles with some of the ox tail meat, onions, garlic chips, a bit of the garlic oil and Meicai. Laddle the hot soup and beef balls over the noodles then serve with the rest of the condiments. I also like having a little bowl of Sriracha and hoisin sauce to dip the meat in.

  • Pingback: Homemade Asian beef balls at [ No Recipes ]

  • http://www.realepicurean.com/ Scott at Realepicurean

    To me this is just totally unique; I’ve never eaten anything like it, but can imagine how delicious it is. I think I need to get out more ;)

  • http://www.realepicurean.com Scott at Realepicurean

    To me this is just totally unique; I’ve never eaten anything like it, but can imagine how delicious it is. I think I need to get out more ;)

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com/ Tartelette

    This is so going to be dinner wednesday night…because I won’t have to share with anyone :)

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    This is so going to be dinner wednesday night…because I won’t have to share with anyone :)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    That looks fabulous, really fresh and delicious. I love Thai flavours.

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    That looks fabulous, really fresh and delicious. I love Thai flavours.

  • http://www.canelakitchen.blogspot.com/ Gloria

    This looks so nice, like it. And Im happy that now I can let you a comment !! xGloria

  • http://www.canelakitchen.blogspot.com Gloria

    This looks so nice, like it. And Im happy that now I can let you a comment !! xGloria

  • http://homemades.blogspot.com/ arfi

    You make me hungry, Marc. We’re having an intense rain these past two days and it’s perfect to spend the day with a bowl of soup!!

  • http://homemades.blogspot.com arfi

    You make me hungry, Marc. We’re having an intense rain these past two days and it’s perfect to spend the day with a bowl of soup!!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That soup looks so fresh and tasty!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That soup looks so fresh and tasty!

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/ White On Rice Couple

    Bravo to you Mark, for this kick butt noodle soup! Just looking at those beef balls and your crisp, bright and beautiful photography is torture!
    We’ve eaten so much rich foods lately , your bowl of soup would be healing and satisfying. We’re coming over….

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com White On Rice Couple

    Bravo to you Mark, for this kick butt noodle soup! Just looking at those beef balls and your crisp, bright and beautiful photography is torture!
    We’ve eaten so much rich foods lately , your bowl of soup would be healing and satisfying. We’re coming over….

  • Marc

    Scott, one of the things I love about food blogs is a chance to get exposed to new foods. I’m glad I was able to give you a “taste” of something different.

    Tartelette, let me know how it goes:-) I think the next time I’m going to try roasting the ox tail, onions and ginger first instead of the parboil.

    Thanks Laura, Gloria, Arfi and Kevin!

    White On Rice Couple, I know what you mean, despite fondness for rich foods, I often crave simplicity.

  • Marc

    Scott, one of the things I love about food blogs is a chance to get exposed to new foods. I’m glad I was able to give you a “taste” of something different.

    Tartelette, let me know how it goes:-) I think the next time I’m going to try roasting the ox tail, onions and ginger first instead of the parboil.

    Thanks Laura, Gloria, Arfi and Kevin!

    White On Rice Couple, I know what you mean, despite fondness for rich foods, I often crave simplicity.

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/ Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy

    Wow! This looks like a great soup! I love all kinds of Asian soups, noodle bowls, etc. I will definitely be trying this. Any suggestions in case I can’t find ox tail?

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

    Wow! This looks like a great soup! I love all kinds of Asian soups, noodle bowls, etc. I will definitely be trying this. Any suggestions in case I can’t find ox tail?

  • Marc

    Hi Susan, thanks! If you can’t find ox tail you can ask your butcher for leg and knuckle bones cut into pieces.

  • Marc

    Hi Susan, thanks! If you can’t find ox tail you can ask your butcher for leg and knuckle bones cut into pieces.

  • http://www.noobcook.com/ noobcook

    should it be vietnamese beef noodles? heh … love your photography and everything you cooked look so delicious!!

  • http://www.noobcook.com noobcook

    should it be vietnamese beef noodles? heh … love your photography and everything you cooked look so delicious!!

  • Marc

    Hahahah you caught me red handed. I wondered when some one would notice. Okay so the soup stock is solidly Pho (Vietnamese), but the stuff in and on top of the soup is more Thai, so it’s a bit of a hybrid.

  • Marc

    Hahahah you caught me red handed. I wondered when some one would notice. Okay so the soup stock is solidly Pho (Vietnamese), but the stuff in and on top of the soup is more Thai, so it’s a bit of a hybrid.

  • http://meatchip.blogspot.com/ James

    I love asian noodle soups. Nice Thai recipe. I’ll try it next week before it gets warm outside.
    By the way, I tagged you for a Six Word Memoir. If you want to participate, check out my blog. Peace.

  • http://meatchip.blogspot.com James

    I love asian noodle soups. Nice Thai recipe. I’ll try it next week before it gets warm outside.
    By the way, I tagged you for a Six Word Memoir. If you want to participate, check out my blog. Peace.

  • Liss

    Found this blog from opensourcefood, and, though I’ve never commented before, just thought I would say that, as a Manhattanite, we have great cheap Asian food, if you know where to look. Try the Saigon Grill, with locations in several parts of the city, for kickass cheap Vietnamese, and, on Mott street in Chinatown, there’s an amazing soup place. Also, menupages.com for the menus, reviews and prices of lots of NYC restaurants.

  • Liss

    Found this blog from opensourcefood, and, though I’ve never commented before, just thought I would say that, as a Manhattanite, we have great cheap Asian food, if you know where to look. Try the Saigon Grill, with locations in several parts of the city, for kickass cheap Vietnamese, and, on Mott street in Chinatown, there’s an amazing soup place. Also, menupages.com for the menus, reviews and prices of lots of NYC restaurants.

  • http://www.erikorganic.com/dining-room/dining-room-table.shtml dining table

    I have always loved beef noodle soup. Very great taste and the flavor is so rich.

  • RoyK

    Dark thick soy sauce(slightly sweet type), a teaspoon of five spice powder, a head of sweet pickled garlic and a bit of dry galanga instead of ginger.  I don’t think they use ginger in beef soup and I don’t think they use oxtail as it’s usually made into a dish on its own.  They use mostly bones and parts of beef like brisket, flank, even shank.  This is to make soup and stew the tough beef at the same time.  You get both nice soup and beef to go with the noodle.  BTW, rock sugar also helps with the flavour.

  • Qweqw

    qweqwe

  • Candy

    I love this south asian dish! so simple yet so tasty..

  • AL

    i’ve only just stumbled upon your website and this post so i hope that after 4 years in Manhattan you have discovered Pongsri’s Kuai Tiao Neua. Being a thai NYer I can vouch that it is AMAZING.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amberleachiarelli Amber Carpenter

    Does this recipe taste like the soup from the Wat temple? I used to go to the Wat temple in Tampa, FL and I have craved that soup ever since I moved out of state!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I’ve never been to the Wat temple in Florida so I can’t say for sure. Give it a try and let us know.

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

Tomatillo
Orange Chicken
Vegetable Lasagna
Braised Chicken Tacos
Tofu Terrine with Red Shiso Gelée
Roasted Eggplant Tomato Salad
Yuzu Kosho (Yuzu Chili Paste)
Peanut Butter Baklava