Elevate Your Palate with Chinese Lamb Noodle ElegancCourse: China Food
This recipe for Chinese Lamb Noodle Soup, inspired by Western Chinese cuisine, combines aromatic spices with tender lamb shanks for a rich and earthy flavor.
3 pounds of lamb shanks (You can ask your butcher to cut 1-2 shanks into pieces to expose the marrow. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of 2 pounds of lamb shanks and 1 pound of lamb neck stewing bones)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
4 slices of ginger (2 inches/5cm long, ⅛ inch/0.3 cm thick)
3 scallions (cut into 2-inch/5cm lengths, separating the white and green parts)
12 cups of water
6 large garlic cloves (smashed)
3 whole dried red chili peppers
6 white cardamom pods
2 star anise pods
2 bay leaves
2 nuggets of sand ginger
1 2-inch/5 cm piece of cassia cinnamon
1 black cardamom pod
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon of whole white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/4 cup of dried wood ear mushrooms (thoroughly rinsed of any dust/dirt)
2-3 teaspoons of salt (to taste; we prefer 3 teaspoons)
18 ounces of dried sweet potato glass noodles (or thin Chinese vermicelli noodles)
1/2 cup of Chinese celery (finely chopped, to taste)
1/2 cup of cilantro (leaves and stems, finely chopped, to taste)
Chili oil, black vinegar, and freshly ground white pepper to taste, for serving (optional)
- Soak the meat in a pot of cold water for 20 minutes, then rinse the bones and pat them dry with a paper towel. After rinsing the pot, heat it over high heat. Once any remaining water has evaporated, add oil, ginger slices, and the thicker white and light green parts of the scallions. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the lamb to the pot and sear it on all sides until it turns a light golden brown. After browning, pour in water and add garlic, the green parts of the scallions, and a variety of spices including dried chili peppers, cardamom pods, star anise, bay leaves, sand ginger, cinnamon, black cardamom, coriander seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, white peppercorns, and fennel seeds.
- Cover and simmer over medium-high heat for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for an additional hour. The broth should become cloudy and milky within the first 20 minutes. Add dried wood ears and salt, then cook for another 30 minutes over low heat, totaling 2 hours of cooking.
- When ready to eat, boil the noodles following the package instructions. Transfer the lamb shanks to a cutting board, debone them, and roughly chop the meat. Serve each bowl with 2-3 ladlefuls of broth, strained through a fine-meshed strainer. Top with a generous pinch of chopped Chinese celery leaves and cilantro, and offer chili oil, Chinese black vinegar, and white pepper as optional condiments.
Chinese Lamb Noodle Soup is a flavorful and comforting dish that combines tender lamb, aromatic spices, and delicate noodles. This hearty soup is a popular choice in Chinese cuisine, offering a perfect harmony of rich flavors and textures.
To prepare this delectable soup, succulent lamb shanks are introduced to a pot and browned on all sides until they achieve a tantalizing golden hue. The addition of water, garlic, and the vibrant green parts of scallions infuses the broth with a depth of savory flavors.
What sets this soup apart is the array of spices that intensify its taste profile. Dried chili peppers add a subtle heat, while cardamom pods, star anise, bay leaves, sand ginger, cinnamon, black cardamom, coriander seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, white peppercorns, and fennel seeds lend their aromatic notes, creating a symphony of tastes that dance on the palate.
To complete the dish, delicate noodles, such as sweet potato glass noodles or thin Chinese vermicelli noodles, are cooked separately and added to the flavorful broth. The noodles absorb the essence of the soup, becoming infused with its rich flavors.
Garnished with finely chopped Chinese celery and cilantro, this Chinese Lamb Noodle Soup is a delightful combination of textures and tastes. For those seeking an extra kick, a drizzle of chili oil, a splash of black vinegar, and a sprinkle of freshly ground white pepper can be added, elevating the dish to new levels of deliciousness.
Whether enjoyed on a chilly day or as a satisfying meal any time of the year, Chinese Lamb Noodle Soup is a culinary delight that will warm your soul and leave you craving for more.