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.
- 1 medium yellow onion , roughly diced
- 10 large garlic cloves , chopped
- 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 red chili pepper , serrano, fresno, or jalapeno, remove seeds
- One inch cinnamon stick
- 1 piece dry bay leaf
- 4 bulbs scallions , chopped and separate white and green parts
- 4 large loose carrots , diced to roughly 1 ½ inch chunks
- 3-4 medium tomatoes , roughly diced
- 3-4 whole pitted dates , roughly break open in half use your hands.
- 4-5 oz. fresh shiitake sliced (roughly 4 to 5 whole full size caps)
- Avocado oil
- Cilantro , garnish, optional
- 2.5 lbs beef shank boneless (Alt. short ribs, stew beef, or oxtail), see notes
- Roughly ¼ tsp coarse salt + ¼ tsp ground black pepper per side
Prepare the ingredients under ‘Aromatics’ and ‘Other’. Set aside. Slice the beef shank to 1/2 inch slices and season with coarse salt and pepper.
In a well heated 6 quart large heavy bottom soup pot, add 2 tbsp avocado oil. Sear the beef about 1-2 minutes per side. Set them aside. If not enough oil in the pot add 1 to 1 ½ tbsp oil. Saute onion, garlic, ginger, chili pepper, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and white scallion parts. Season with a pinch of salt and saute until fragrant (about 15 seconds).
Add Soup seasonings (see notes). Use a wooden spoon to scrape the pot so nothing is stick to the bottom. Place beef on top of the aromatics. Add diced carrots, tomatoes, dates, and shiitake.
Cover and bring the soup to boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Allow it to slow simmer until the beef is fork-tender (about 1 hour to 1.5 hour). The water will evaporate during the process so please check the liquid level every 15 minutes or so. It is likely that you need to add an additional cup of beef stock to compensate the liquid evaporation.
Taste and adjust seasonings (perhaps more salt or coconut aminos) and garnish green scallion parts before serving. The soup flavor will be even more fragrant the day after.
During the slow simmer process, the water will evaporate. It is likely that you need to add an additional cup of water (or beef stock) to compensate the liquid evaporation. Check the liquid level every 15 minutes or so.
The soup will be even more fragrant and the beef will be more tender the day after. Taste and adjust seasonings (more salt or coconut aminos) before serving.
If the beef shank comes with bones, cut the meat along the bones and rinse the bones under clean water and add them to Step 4 with the soup liquid (water). Discard before serving.
Feel free to add any vegetable spiralized noodles or rice noodles for a gluten-free beef noodle soup!
For an Instant Pot version - please check out this recipe here.