Ginger Beef Noodle Soup

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 7 hours

Serves: 4

Michele Anna Jordan has written thirteen widely praised books about food and wine. Her fearless signature restaurant reviews currently appear in the North Bay edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to a weekly column for the Press Democrat, “Seasonal Pantry”. She hosts two radio shows, Mouthful, about food, wine, and agriculture, and Red Shoes Rodeo, an eclectic music show, on KRCB-FM. Jordan writes for a variety of national publications and has won numerous awards for both cooking and writing.

Although you’ll need to start this soup the day before serving it so that you are sure to have a rich and flavorful stock, the actual amount of hands-on work is minimal.


5 pounds oxtails

1 carrot, cut in 3 or 4 pieces

1 tomato, cut in half

1 yellow onion, cut in quarters

6 large slices of ginger

2 or 3 stalks lemon grass

3 kaffir lime leaves

2 star anise

3 tbsp clarified butter

1 large yellow onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

3-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

2 stalks of lemongrass

1 tsp whole white peppercorns

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

10 ounces rice noodles, 1/2 inch wide

1 or 2 limes, cut in wedges

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Set aside 4 of the largest oxtails and put the rest, along with the carrot, and onion, in a large roasting pan, and roast for 45 minutes. Wrap and refrigerate the reserved oxtails. Put the cooked oxtails, vegetables, and any pan juices in a large soup pot, add 12 cups of water, the lemongrass, ginger, and lime leaf, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to low, and simmer, partially covered, for about 4 hours, until the meat completely falls off the bone and the liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Cool, strain, and refrigerate over night
  2. Remove and discard the layer of fat that forms on top. To make the soup, melt the clarified butter in a wide soup pot set over medium low heat, add the onion, and sauté until the onions begin to caramelize, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté 2 minutes more. Add the reserved oxtails and cook until they are nicely browned on both sides. Heat the stock in a separate pot and when the oxtails are browned, pour it over them. Add 2 cups of water, the white and black peppercorns, lemongrass, kosher salt, and red pepper flakes, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to low, and simmer, partially covered, until the meat is very tender– about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Divide the noodles among individual soup bowls, ladle the soup over the noodles, and garnish each portion with some cilantro leaves and lime juice. Serve immediately.

©Michele Anna Jordan, from Salt Pepper (Broadway Books, 1999).