Braised Beef Noodle Soup

Braised beef noodle soup (红烧牛肉面) is one of my 5-year-old’s favourite food. He can eat a whole big bowl of it (even more than me)! If he knew he was having that, he would tell all his teachers and friends at school with a “I’m so lucky” tone.

I’m really glad that my kids still enjoy some Asian food, as  I find that kids who grow up in North America start to only like western food. Don’t get me wrong. I love western food too, but I would like my kids to also enjoy different types of food. As a mom, it’s such a satisfying feeling to watch your kids enjoy the food you make. That’s a big motivation for me to cook after a long day of work. Braised beef noodle is one of the dishes that I wish my kids will remember me of even when they grow up. J always says “mommy makes the best beef noodles”. Of course I know there are plenty of mommies that make this better than me, but it makes me happy that my kids “think” I’m the best. 

Mixed with beef shank, carrot, radish and onions, this dish is super hearty and delicious. It normally takes quite some time to make it, as you are supposed cook it slowly on the stove top for a few hours so the beef will become really tender. Since I’m a full-time working mom, I really don’t have that kind and so I use Instant Pot (one of the must-have kitchen appliances in my opinion) to make the soup the night before.


  • One boneless beef shank, cut into medium pieces
  • ½ cup of organic tamari soy sauce
  • ½ cup cooking wine
  • ½ cup of ketchup
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 – 3 carrots depending on the size and your liking, cut into medium size pieces
  • ½ white radish cut into medium size pieces
  • 1 medium tomato cut into chunks (optional)
  • 2 – 3 scallions (cut into about 3 inches long)
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP of minced ginger
  • 3 pieces of star anise
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • ½ TSBP 5 Spices Powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 TBSP of loose green tea in a tea bag (this is optional, it’s supposed to help to make the beef more tender)
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar or rock sugar (depending on how sweet you like your soup)
  • About 4-5 cups of water, or enough to cover the food in the instant pot

You can get all the ingredients from any Chinese supermarket.

All the measurements of the ingredients can be customized based on your liking. Adjust it if you feel needed.


Add in the following ingredients one by one while you continue to stir fry and mix everything together, waiting for a minute or so before adding the next ingredient.

  1. Put a little bit of oil of your choice to frying pan
  2. Add the beef shank into the pan and stir fry it for about 3 minutes
  3. Add in the minced garlic
  4. Add in the minced ginger
  5. Add in the diced onion
  6. Add in 1 tsp pepper
  7. Add in ½ TBSP 5 Spices Powder (五香粉)
  8. Add in the star anise & cinnamon stick(八角 & 桂皮)
  9. Add in ½ cup ketchup
  10. Add in organic Tamari sauce or organic soy sauce
  11. Add in cooking wine
  12. Add in carrots, radish and tomatoes (tomatoes are optional)
  13. Add the scallions
  14. Transfer everything into the Instant Pot
  15. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients
  16. Set Instant Pot to “Stew” function and cook for 45 to 50 minutes

I usually make the soup the night before and when I get back from work the next day, I will just cook the noodles and bok choy with water.

Finally, you can sprinkle some minced scallions on top of the beef noodles. Enjoy your homemade braised beef noodles!

It seems like a lot of work, but I promise it’s not and it’s totally worth trying.

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