Yes, it’s a one bowl meal. I can’t imagine eating more than that for one meal. Not that’s there’s anything else to crave, really, because this noodle soup has everything.
Now, about the ingredients. While other green leafy vegetable like boy choy or wom bok can be substituted for the spinach, there are three ingredients that you have to have to make the soup. You need noodles, broth and tendon.
Wide mung bean noodles are used in this recipe. You may use other Asian noodles. Wheat noodles, rice noodles, thick, thin… The kind I used here, well, it says dangmyun in the label with “mungbean wide noodles” in parenthesis but, the thing is, dangmyun refers to noodles made with sweet potato starch. Labels can be confusing because of translation. I encourage you to read a guide on Asian noodles before deciding what noodle variety you want to use.
Much as I love using homemade bone broth for soups and noodle soups, the weather this year has been insanely hot and humid. Monsoon season is already well upon us but the humidity is still high. That means don’t keep anything simmering on the stove for a long time because the trapped heat in the house creates a greenhouse effect. Until it’s cooler, we’re using store-bought broth.
I love this brand (no, this is not a sponsored post) as it’s the only commercial broth that’s as good as homemade bone broth. It’s milky because of the fats and tendons that have liquefied during simmering. It’s the same effect I aim for when boiling bones. And I know how long it takes to get there. But… chicken broth and not beef broth? I find that chicken broth is good for almost any Asian noodle soup dish.
I buy beef tendon by weight. While tendon can come from different parts of the cow, I like the tendon taken from the legs below the shank. They’re thick and firm, and don’t easily dissolve into the liquid.
In the photo above, that’s beef shortplate on the left and tendon on the right. The uncut slab of shortplate and several pieces of tendon went into the slow cooker, covered with water, seasoned with fish sauce and cooked on HIGH for four hours.
Note, however, that depending on the age of the animal (or animals if the shortplate and tendon came from different cows), the shortplate and tendon may not cook at the same time. It is more than likely that the tendon will need to cook longer. Check after three hours. If the beef shortplate is done, scoop it out and continue cooking the tendon until tender.
In my case, because the shortplate was left uncut during cooking, it cooked to perfect tenderness at the same time as then tendon. When cool, the beef and tendon were scooped out, chilled in separate containers overnight, and sliced to make the noodle soup.
It’s a convenient procedure, I tell you. The slow cooker does not emit a lot of heat in the kitchen. By chilling the beef and tendon overnight, it was easier to cut them into clean slices. All that really needed to be done to make the noodle soup was to prep the noodles and veggies to go with them.
Make beef tendon noodle soup with one pot
Boil water in a pot, drop in spinach (or your preferred greens) and press into the hot water. Boil for two to three minutes then scoop out and drain.
In the same water (which is not infused by nutrients from the spinach so don’t waste it), drop in your noodles and cook until softened but still slightly chewy. Don’t worry if the water looks greenish. The final appearance of your cooked noodles won’t really be affected. To prevent the noodles from clumping, drain, dump into a bowl of iced water, leave until cool then drain again.
Pour off the water from the pot, pour in your broth, add the sliced beef and tendon, and heat until boiling gently. From this point, the dish is a matter of assembly.
Beef tendon noodle soup
- Boil about eight cups of water in a pot. Sprinkle in the salt and stir.
- Press the spinach into the boiling water and cook for two minutes or just until limp. Scoop out and drain.
- Bring the water to a rolling oil and drop in the noodles. When starting to soften, stir to separate. Cook until tender but still a bit chewy.
- Drain the noodles, dump into a bowl of cold water, leave until cool, then drain.
- Discard the water and pour the broth into the pot. Heat until boiling.
- Carefully slide in the beef and tendon, and simmer until heated through.
- Taste the broth, and add fish sauce if needed.
- Divide the noodles, spinach, beef and tendon among four bowls.
- Ladle in hot broth.
- Garnish with roasted nori and chili flakes, and serve at once.