Taiwanese Beef Soup.
If there’s a single anthem to represent the food of my home country of Taiwan, then beef soup stew is a strong contender.
Taiwanese beef soup stew is so ubiquitous that every household in Taiwan has its own variation and only family members are allowed to know the secret.
Both of my parents were born in China and moved to Taiwan with my grandparents when they were only infants. As a second-generation Taiwanese person, part of me inherited cuisines from China and the other part of me is heavily influenced by the country where I grew up.
If you have a chance to visit Taiwan, you’ll notice that there are two major types of beef stew – one version is stewed with soy sauce hence the dark-red-colored broth and the other type is stewed with clear broth and flavored with ginger.
My family seems to take the middle ground and combine the two variations mentioned above.
The best way to enjoy this stew is to pre-make it a day ahead before serving. This is also an excellent stew that allows busy moms and working professionals to have meals ready in no time during the workweek.
Try this pot stew and I guarantee that you’ll taste beef in a whole new light.
- 2 lbs boneless beef shanks, cut into ¾” inch or ½ inch pieces
- 2 -3 loose carrots, sliced into medium size pieces
- 8 pieces of dry shiitake mushrooms
- 1 large size tomato, roughly chopped
- 5-6 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 dry bay leaves
- 3 to 4 slices ginger
- 2 tbsp of whole Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
- 1½ tbsp of fennel powder
- 1 tbsp of cumin powder
- 1 tsp of ground coriander
- ¼ tsp of five spice powder
- ¼ tsp of ground black pepper
- Small bunch of scallions, cut off the ends & slice in half
- ⅓ cup coconut aminos
- 8 cups water (including the soaked mushroom water)
- 1 to 2 cups of water
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Soak the dry shiitake mushrooms in a large bowl filled with enough room temperature water to cover them.
- The mushrooms will rehydrate in one morning or afternoon.
- Once the mushrooms are rehydrated/soft texture, cut off the stems. Slice the mushrooms and set aside. & Keep the soaked mushroom water for stock use.
- Place sliced beef shanks in a large pot filled with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Boil the meat for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- Discard the entire pot of water and rinse the shanks well under room temperature water.
- *Tip: This is an important step to produce a clear beef broth as the boiling process drains the blood and other impurities of the meat.
- Place the shanks into a 6 ½ liter soup pot
- Add the sliced carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and one roughly chopped tomato.
- Place the star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, sliced ginger and Sichuan peppercorns into large tea bags or cheese cloth & add the rest of the aroma packet ingredients to the soup pot.
- Add liquids under “Other Ingredients” - coconut aminos and water - to fill the pot. Leave a little space at the top of the pot to prevent things from boiling over.
- Cook over medium heat until boiling then turn the heat down to medium-low heat for an additional hour and half (90 minutes).
- *Tip: As the broth evaporates, you might need to add an additional cup of water (1 cup) during the cooking process.
- After then, the beef should be fork-tender but the flavor won’t come through fully so let the beef sit in the broth and wait until it’s cooled then cover with a lid and store in the fridge for next day.
- Add 1 to 2 more cups of water.
- Heat the pot over medium-high heat.
- Once it’s boiled cook for an additional 15 minutes
- Add 1 tsp of sea salt and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Discard the scallions and aroma packet.
- Serve with your favorite leafy greens and fresh chopped scallions.