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  • Nicola

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.


Lanzhou-style Beef noodles Recipe (兰州拉面)

Serves 6


3lbs of Beef Leg Bone (with Marrow)

1lb Beef Shank

4 liters water

1 tablespoon salt

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 Onion

1/4 teaspoon Ground White Pepper

5 grams Rock Sugar

Chili Oil, to taste

6 servings knife noodles

Chopped Green Onions

Chopped Cilantro


  1. Thoroughly rinse the bones and meat, then transfer them to a pot. Cover with water for an hour minimum or overnight.

  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 the 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 cheesecloth 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.


#handpullednoodles #lanzhou #china #chinese #northern #knifecuttingnoodles

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