Lanzhou-style Beef noodles (兰州拉面)

I’ve never been to Lanzhou province but I have tasted a variation of this in Vancouver. Northern China restaurants are popping up all around Vancouver lately, and it has become one of my favourite style of food.

This is a re-creation of the dish I’ve tried in the restaurants. I found that many of the ingredients are similar to what is found in Vietnamese Pho dishes, but with more ingredients. However, the taste is quite different from Pho.


So what you will need is:

  • 3lbs of Beef Leg Bone (with Marrow)
  • 1lb Beef Shank
  • 1/2 Daikon Radish (about 1/2lb), 1/4″ slices
  • 2.5 Quarts of Water
  • 2 tablespoon Homemade Chili Oil (or store bought, see suggestions here)
  • 8 grams Salt (2 teaspoon) or to Taste
  • 1/2lb Dried Knife Noodles (feel free to make your own)
  • Chopped Green Onions, Green Part
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (non-spicy version optional)
  • 4 teaspoon sesame oil (non-spicy version optional)

Spices in a Spice Bag:

    • 6 x Cloves
    • 1 teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorn
    • 3 x Dried Chili Pepper
    • 3 x Bay Leaves
    • 1 x Nutmeg Seed
    • 1 x Cardamom
    • 5 x Star Anise
    • 7 grams Cinnamon Stick
    • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seed
    • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seed
    • 35 grams Ginger, sliced
    • 5 x Cloves Garlic
    • 6 x Green Onions, White Part
    • 1 x Small Onion (about 70 grams)
    • 1/4 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
    • 5 grams Rock Sugar

 

To cook the broth

Thoroughly rinse the leg bones and meat, then transfer them to a dutch oven.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - Shank and Leg Bones in Dutch Oven

Cover the bones and beef with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - Cover noodles with bones

Turn the medium low heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Parboiling the meat will get rid of the meat impurities and result in a clean tasting and clearer broth.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - Parboiled

Discard the water, and clean the pot.

Rinse the soup bones and meat, and pat dry. (set aside shank until later)

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - Pot and Bones Rinsed Clean

Add the bones to a baking sheet or a oven safe pot, then roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - Roasted

Meanwhile, prepare spice mix. Toast the cloves, sichuan peppercorns, dried chili pepper, bay leaves, nutmeg seed, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick, fennel seed, and cumin seeds on a pan until fragrant.

lanzhou noodle spice pouch

Add all the spice ingredients including toasted ingredients into a cheese cloth and set it aside.

Put the shank and roasted bones into the pot.

Add water and spice mix.

Bring everything to a boil.

Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and let everything simmer for about 2 hours.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - everything in pot

After two hours, remove the beef shank, make sure to place beef shank in cold water covered with a plastic wrap. This will prevent the exterior from drying out and turning dark brown.

At this point, add the sliced daikon and simmer for another hour.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - ingredients

While the broth is cooking for the last hour, slice the cool beef shank and prepare the green onion garnish, cilantro and chili oil. Set aside until the broth is complete.

After an hour, remove the spice pouch and soup bones.

Taste the broth and start adjusting the salt. Once this step is complete, the soup base is ready.

Cook the noodles in a separate pot according to package instructions.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - dried knife cutting noodles

Divide the noodles among 4 bowls.

Add cooled sliced beef shank, fanning them out over the noodles.

To finish, add a ladle of broth with daikon, a spoon of hot chili oil (to taste) // for non-spicy version, skip the chili oil and substitute with the dash of sesame seeds and sesame oil, and a sprinkle with chopped green onions and cilantro.


Lanzhou-style Beef noodles Recipe (兰州拉面)

Serves 4
Cook time 4 hours

So what you will need is:

  • 3lbs of Beef Leg Bone (with Marrow)
  • 1lb Beef Shank
  • 1/2 Daikon Radish (about 1/2lb), 1/4″ slices
  • 2.5 Quarts of Water
  • 2 tablespoon Homemade Chili Oil (or store bought, see suggestions here)
  • 8 grams Salt (2 teaspoon) or to Taste
  • 1/2lb Dried Knife Noodles (feel free to make your own)
  • Chopped Green Onions, Green Part
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (non-spicy version optional)
  • 4 teaspoon sesame oil (non-spicy version optional)

Spices in a Spice Bag:

  • 6 x Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorn
  • 3 x Dried Chili Pepper
  • 3 x Bay Leaves
  • 1 x Nutmeg Seed
  • 1 x Cardamom
  • 5 x Star Anise
  • 7 grams Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seed
  • 35 grams Ginger, sliced
  • 5 x Cloves Garlic
  • 6 x Green Onions, White Part
  • 1 x Small Onion (about 70 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
  • 5 grams Rock Sugar

To cook the broth

  1. Thoroughly rinse the leg bones and meat, then transfer them to a dutch oven.
  2. Cover the bones and beef with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Turn the medium low heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Parboiling the meat will get rid of the meat impurities and result in a clean tasting and clearer broth.
  4. Discard the water, and clean the pot.
  5. Rinse the soup bones and meat, and pat dry. (set aside shank until later)
  6. Add the bones to a baking sheet or a oven safe pot, then roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare spice mix. Toast the cloves, sichuan peppercorns, dried chili pepper, bay leaves, nutmeg seed, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick, fennel seed, and cumin seeds on a pan until fragrant.
  8. Add all the spice ingredients including toasted ingredients into a cheese cloth and set it aside.
  9. Put the shank and roasted bones into the pot.
  10. Add water and spice mix.
  11. Bring everything to a boil.
  12. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and let everything simmer for about 2 hours.
  13. After two hours, remove the beef shank, make sure to place beef shank in cold water covered with a plastic wrap. This will prevent the exterior from drying out and turning dark brown.
  14. At this point, add the sliced daikon and simmer for another hour.
  15. While the broth is cooking for the last hour, slice the cool beef shank and prepare the green onion garnish, cilantro and chili oil. Set aside until the broth is complete.
  16. After an hour, remove the spice pouch and soup bones.
  17. Taste the broth and start adjusting the salt. Once this step is complete, the soup base is ready.
  18. Cook the noodles in a separate pot according to package instructions.
  19. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls.
  20. Add cooled sliced beef shank, fanning them out over the noodles.
  21. To finish, add a ladle of broth with daikon, a spoon of hot chili oil (to taste) // for non-spicy version, skip the chili oil and substitute with the dash of sesame seeds and sesame oil, and a sprinkle with chopped green onions and cilantro.

Lan Zhou Style Beef Noodles - Finish 4

Thank you for reading! I’m not from Lanzhou nor would I say this is the authentic recipe, but this is my take on the popular dish. Do you have another take on this recipe? Let me know in the comments below! Happy slurping!

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