Niurou lamian has a special place in my family’s heart. My husband ate niurou lamian everyday for breakfast when in he lived in Lanzhou, a city in Western China. He frequented his favorite noodle shop so often that they even gave him a go at throwing the hand pulled noodles. To this day, he still maintains the misguided belief that he can make hand pulled noodles.
As for me, I developed a love for this Chinese beef noodle soup when I was in the early stages of pregnancy. Nothing soothed my nausea and general bad mood like salty beef broth and springy noodles. Luckily for both of us, there was always a Halal niurou lamian shop nearby ready to serve a big bowl of steaming soup in 5 minutes or less.
Now we have moved away from China and sadly the noodle shops are no longer so plentiful. Still that does not stop our insatiable craving for this Hui Chinese dish. Although it may seem like a lot of work, making this soup is actually fairly easy. Roast the bones, transfer to a stock pot, add water and spice and let it bubble away all day long. If, however, you are still up for a challenge and want a little extra work you could give making hand pulled noodles a try. Just be aware that it is harder than it looks so if you are like me and end up with broken noodles on the ground, just add some freshly made noodles (store bought or homemade is fine). Also, if you prefer your noodle soup heavy on the beef, just do what I do and add sliced seared topside to the soup and allow the broth to cook the rare meat.
Place beef bones, celery, garlic and shallots in a large baking tray then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 220C/450F for an hour.
Transfer browned bones, celery, garlic and shallots along with any of the roasting juices into the large stock pot along with peeled and sliced ginger, spices and water.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 4-5 hours. Remove any scum that might bubble to the top with a slotted spoon. The longer it simmers, the better it'll be so let it simmer for as long as you can.
When ready, separate the stock from the bones and spices using a sieve.
Remove any meat from the bones, roughly chop it up and add it to the stock.
Discard bones and spices.
Chop the daikon into thin half moons and add to the stock.
Bring stock to a boil and cook until white radish is tender. This shouldn't take long (about 2-3 minutes)
Season with salt to taste.
Meanwhile, season topside on both sides with salt and pepper.
Add oil to a frying pan and sear on medium high heat on both sides (should be 2-3 minutes on each side).
Take out of the pan and let rest for 5 minutes then thinly slice.
Assembling niuro lamian
Put noodles in bowl then top with chopped cilantro, scallions and thinly sliced beef .
Fill bowl with ladles of soup and add a splash of chile oil and black vinegar (optional). Serve hot!