Braised Beef Noodle Soup (红烧牛肉面)

This braised beef noodle soup used Chinese dry aromatics and beef with marbled fat making a delicious rich beef noodle soup that rivals restaurant versions!

2 small pieces Chinese (cassia) cinnamon, 5 grams
2 black cardamom pods (草果), cao-guo, 5 grams
½ tablespoon fennel seeds
4 star anise pods
10 cloves
1 dried tangerine peel
6 bay leaves
½ tablespoon whole white peppercorns
4 slices licorice root (甘草), gan-cao, 7 grams
2 pieces sand ginger (山奈/沙姜), shan-nai / sha-jiang, 6 grams
10 pieces dried amomum white cardamom (白寇), bai-kou, 3 grams
3 pounds of beef chuck, cut into large chunks
16 cups water
5 slices ginger
3 tablespoons oil
15 grams of rock sugar
5 scallions (with the white and green parts separated)
1 whole head of garlic (cloves peeled but kept whole)
1 pound daikon, cut into ¼-inch thick slices, with each slice quartered
¼ cup Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
¼ cup light soy sauce
Salt, to taste
Noodle of your choice
Leafy greens of your choice (spinach, romaine lettuce, choy sum, and bok choy are all good)
Handful of chopped cilantro (optional)

First place the aromatics in a piece of cheesecloth tied tightly with kitchen string or disposable/fillable tea filter bags. That’s the cinnamon, black cardamom, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves, tangerine peel, bay leaves, white peppercorns, licorice slices, sand ginger, and amomum white cardamon. Phew. It’ll be worth it. Trust me.
Next, rinse off the beef under cold running water. In a soup pot, add 16 cups of water, the ginger, and beef. Bring to a boil and cook for a few more minutes until you see some foam floating on the top of the water. Skim the foam off. You don’t want these impurities from the beef making your soup cloudy. Turn off the heat, fish out the pieces of beef, and strain the resulting broth through a fine-meshed strainer, into a heatproof bowl or other pot. Set aside, along with the ginger pieces.
In another large, thick-bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rock sugar, the white parts of the scallion, and the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the scallions are lightly seared. Add the beef, turn up the heat, and mix everything well.