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ccncwby OP t1_j9sj2jq wrote

So this recipe was ~2 years in the works for me, constantly making small tweaks/adjustments to the ingredients until the balance of flavours was where I wanted it. In its current state there are no changes or improvements I can think of making. If anyone here makes some up I hope they agree! Some of the flavours can be a little polarizing though so I'll drop a few notes at the bottom as well. This recipe makes around 6 serves.


Prepare the beef...

  • Use 600 grams (100 grams/serve) of a flavourful/fatty cut such as brisket or deboned short rib, preferably dry brined in the fridge overnight or minimum 3 hours with 1.5% salt by weight (for 600 grams use 9 grams salt)
  • Remove beef from fridge 2 hours before cooking, cut into ~1" cubes
  • Sear beef in a ripping hot skillet or wok with 1 tbsp oil until all sides are browned
  • Set the beef aside, but don't clean out the skillet/wok just yet


Prepare the broth...

  • In a large pot, add
  • 5 cups water
  • 6 slices ginger
  • 2 spring onions chopped in half
  • Handful of dried chillis ^(note 1)
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup soy ^(note 2)
  • 4 tbsp MSG ^(note 3)
  • Beef from earlier

Bring to boil and reduce to a light simmer with the lid on


Bloom the aromatics...

In the skillet/wok from earlier, add

  • 1 tbsp chilli oil (store bought or I've got a recipe here)
  • 1 tbsp red Sichuan peppercorns ^(note 4)
  • 1/2 tbsp green Sichuan peppercorns ^(note 4)
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 6 star anise ^(note 5)
  • 2 bay leaves

Bring skillet back up to temp until fragrant, then stir in

  • 1 1/2 tbsp spicy bean paste (la doubanjian, 辣豆瓣酱)
  • 1 chopped small onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Stir to combine and bring to a simmer


Bring everything together...

  • Pour aromatics into broth
  • Deglaze skillet with 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine over heat and pour into broth
  • Give broth a quick stir and simmer with lid on for ~90 minutes.


After broth has simmered for 90mins, pull out all the bits you don't want to serve in your bowls. There are two basic schools of though on this, dependant entirely on whether you want a clear very liquidy broth or don't mind keeping the chunky bits. Either way has no (or very little) impact on flavour, this is purely a decison based on aesthetics or if you do/don't want the protein...

  • The first school of thought would be to remove only the beef chunks into a seperate pot, then pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard whatever remained in the strainer.
  • The second school of thought is to pour everything through a strainer and using tongs pick out and discard the stuff you don't want to keep, then empty the strainer back into the broth. Things you probably don't want to keep include;
    • Star anise
    • Ginger slices
    • Bay leaves
    • Dried chilli pods (the texture is never great in the mouth)
    • Spring onion (long slimey spring onions also aren't great in the mouth)


To serve...

  • Cook noodles in boiling water (~150 grams/serve, Chinese white flour noodles are ideal for soups)
  • Blanch Shanghai/baby bok choy
  • Arrange noodles & bok choy into bowls, add beef chunks and pour in broth
  • Top with fresh spring onion, cilantro, and more chilli oil to taste!

Enjoy :)



(1) I use tien tsin chillis because they're the "correct" chilli variant for Sichuanese cuisine, but they're also similar in heat and flavour to cayennes so if that's what you have, that will do just fine. I'm also told Chili Japones are very similar in flavour too, but a little less spicy if that's what you want. If you don't like spice much at all you can just leave this step out completely too.

(2) Yes, 1/4 cup of soy. it might seem like a lot but in this recipe I've utilised the soy and Shaoxing wine to season the broth instead of salt so that 1/4 cup is very intentional and important. Also, Chinese and Japanese styles of soy are labelled differently and it can get a little confusing, so I'll just keep it simple and say "use the salty kind". Think Kikkoman or a tamari soy.

(3) Yes, 4 tablespoons of MSG. If you're the ill-informed type who still thinks MSG is bad for you then fine you can use less of it or none at all; it's your loss and I feel sorry for your soul

(4) Sichuan peppercorns are one of those polarizing flavours/sensations, and the two variants (red/green) are quite different too. The red ones have a very fragrant/floral smell and taste to them which can become kind of soapy when too much of them are used. The green ones have a much milder/palatable flavour. Both give a similar numbing/tingling sensation which goes so well with spicy food, and the salivation they cause tends to accentuate other flavours too. I've used both variants in this recipe because I personally love the flavour the red ones bring when used appropriately and have thrown in some green ones to add to the numbing/tingling sensation (it is very characteristic of Sichuanese cuisine after all!) If you don't want to buy both types, I'd recommend using only 1 tbsp of the red and leave out the green ones completely. If you find the flavour a bit much, try 1/2 tbsp of each or stick with 1 1/2 tbsp of only the green ones.

(5) Star anise is another of those polarizing flavours. Again I personally love it but some people might think 6 stars is too much, do what you want. I've found using 6 stars in the recipe makes the anise quite prominent on the nose but barely noticable in the mouth so it's a good balance and helps give the broth a complex texture of flavours.


TrumpBlowsPutin t1_j9tswva wrote

As an Asian and MSG lover, 4tbsp is just a ludicrous amount for 5 cups of water. I use maybe 2tbsp in 16 cups of water for pho.


Caylennea t1_j9uwqr9 wrote

Right! I was just going on a small rant about this to my coworker who I then realized is one of those ill informed people who still thinks msg is bad for you. I use like 1.5 tbs in a large pot of pho max! I can’t even imagine what 4 tbs in 5 cups of water would taste like! He is also using too much star anise. He must have barely functional tastebuds or something…


ConcreteKahuna t1_j9t9kq1 wrote

Thank you for the write up this is awesome. Gonna give this a try very soon!


ccncwby OP t1_j9t9so7 wrote

Please let me know your thoughts, even if it's personal preferences lol. This recipe has very much been tailored to my own tastes haha


ConcreteKahuna t1_j9tf2if wrote

The only change I think I'll make is dial back the anise a bit because my homemade chili oil is already pretty anise-ey (because like you I quite like that flavor!) Will definitely report back


dontstealmypenguin t1_j9u2c67 wrote

You're recipe looks insanely good, and I love msg but 4 tablespoons sounds like an incredulous amount. I'm just comparing to salt in my mind and of course 4 tablespoons of salt would probably kill you and make it taste like seawater. Is this not the case with msg? Just asking as I eat a lot of things with msg in but have never used pure msg itself as an ingredient.


CookieKeeperN2 t1_j9tnxfs wrote

6 star anise is waaaay too much. A standard in Chinese cooking is using 1-2 per 1kg (2.2lbs) of meat. It is not about if you like the flavor. Star anise has strong flavors. If you use 6 you overpower the rest of the flavor and destroys balances.

Here is the standard version. This chef is Sichuanese and this dish is actually accessible. I'd say one thing you can do to improve the flavor of the soup/beef is to stir fry the spices (especially the spice bean paste) to fully release its flavor, and then sear up the beef cubes in it. Also add a bit of sugar while you sear the beef cubes. It works miraculously.

Personally, I don't add MSG. soy sauce has enough of it. Instead of soy sauce, I add 黄豆酱 (soy bean sauce). This fermented bean product also includes plenty MSG, and it also softens up the meat. The chef used 芝麻酱/豆腐乳 which served the same purpose.


ccncwby OP t1_j9tqe2k wrote

Hey thanks! I'll definitely look at those other products you've mentioned! Always trying to learn more about foods haha.

I knew the anise would be polarizing 😂 you're just going to have to trust me when I say that 6 is prominent on the nose but not in the mouth. If it were in any way overpowering other flavours then I would have cut back. About that recipe you showed, the chef may have only used 3 stars but he also chucked in a handful of fennel seeds which contain a high amount of the exact same chemical (anethole) that gives it's flavour.


CookieKeeperN2 t1_j9tr1p3 wrote

He used like 2kgs of planks though. I also like star anise. My mom always says I am using too much lol. But you are on another level. But if you like it, keep doing that.


Fizzbit t1_j9u7g5w wrote

For the sake of not having to watch the full video and follow along to cook, is the recipe in the description? If so can someone translate?


CookieKeeperN2 t1_j9w19hy wrote

It has English cc. It's not automatically translated but manually created with very good accuracy.


muuto t1_j9sxv77 wrote

I need this today! 😍 Thank you for the recipe!


Surtock t1_j9tqht5 wrote

This sounds wonderful, and aside from the green peppercorns, I have all of these ingredients on hand. I'll definitely be giving this a go.
One question regarding the sheer amount of MSG. 4tbs! That sounds like a lot in 5L of water. I'm still learning how one uses MSG, but maybe I'm mistaken in thinking that a little goes a long way?
Maybe that has been my issue, I'm simply not using enough.
I have been only using a sprinkling per plate when cooking.

Edit: A word


ccncwby OP t1_j9ttj7e wrote

I think people mistakingly use MSG like salt, but the thing is salt has its own very strong flavour. The same thing cannot be said for MSG so it's very hard to use "too much". Instead of imparting it's own flavour into food, it tends to make existing flavours "richer" if that makes sense?

There is definitely a trick to knowing when to use it, and that's if your dish would be improved by having richer/heartier flavours. As to how much, just taste and adjust until it's however you want it to be. Food and flavours are often a personal thing so there's no single right answer 😊


Surtock t1_j9tx5wi wrote

I add it to a few dishes when I remember to. I use it sparingly bc I don't want to throw anything out and have to start a new dinner, usually. I do taste as I go, but I worry that the flavor will become more pronounced as this dish comes together or that my taste buds are simply dead compared to my partners. I'm going all in next time!


SmashBusters t1_j9tlfxg wrote

I have two packs of shirataki noodles that I really need to use because they've already passed the "Best By" date.

I saw the picture and I was like "OH that looks PERFECT!"

Then I saw the recipe and I was like "...fuck me that's a lot of work"

That being said, I still might do it.

I don't keep MSG on hand, but I have TJ's Umami seasoning and fish sauce. Would either/or work as subs?


ccncwby OP t1_j9tntmp wrote

Haha yea it's a fair bit of work involved but worth it if you've got a day free 😂

I'm not super familiar with that umami seasoning, and as good as it looks the mushroom version of umami has always been it's own thing in my opinion? Probably because of it's own unique flavours it brings to the party. It could totally work though!

Fish sauce would be a hard no though lmao.

If you happen to have miso paste or powder on hand it could work as a good alternative though, just watch the salt content and reduce the soy as necessary.

Or just go buy a small bag of MSG lol that stuff's cheap.


grahamdalf t1_j9tn0i9 wrote

Literally just ate breakfast and now I'm hungry again. Thanks! Can't wait to make this.


JennyFoxFer t1_j9tgaa3 wrote

Do you think it would be possible to replace bay leaves with basil leaves?


ccncwby OP t1_j9tgvec wrote

Yea definitely, basil is delicious and I think if you used dry basil it would bring a sort of sharpness to it which would compliment the sweet floral notes quite well!


chaun2 t1_j9uc5ks wrote

>(3) Yes, 4 tablespoons of MSG. If you're the ill-informed type who still thinks MSG is bad for you then fine you can use less of it or none at all; it's your loss and I feel sorry for your soul

Lol. That's perfect. Worked in food for a couple decades. All fast food has msg in the meats and cheeses. Though I would use more like 4 teaspoons.

The rest of the recipe appears to be pretty much the exact same as what I used to make in the restaurants I cooked at. You could probably double the soy sauce TBH. We didn't used bay leaf, I will have to try that. We cheated on the broth of course, and used chicken broth that had been simmering for hours, instead of water.


APEist28 t1_j9v6fjt wrote

Dude, thank you for this write up. I gave the woks of life version of this a go and it was great, but still needed some tweaking. I'm going to try yours next.

Also, I didn't know that the green peppercorns are less floral so thanks for that tidbit. I love the flavor of the red peppercorns too, but I tend to overdue it and unbalance the flavors. The thing is, I don't want to reduce the amount of numbing because I love that too. From what you're saying, it sounds like I can swap some of the red for green to maintain the numbing and reduce the other flavors - is that right?


nejula t1_j9techn wrote

Thank you for the recipe!!!


Ramiel01 t1_j9swbh4 wrote

A little bit of MSG isn't harmful like the racist stereotypes say, but they do use high doses to induce testicular lesions in animal studies.


coke_and_coffee t1_j9thzco wrote

Tbf, high doses of anything will harm you.


Ramiel01 t1_j9tiwbb wrote

The dose makes the poison and all - this guy is advising 4 Tbsp which is like more than 100 g (4 oz) of freaking MSG


redditguysays t1_j9tmt1j wrote

Your comment got me curious, so I actually went to the kitchen and weighed out the MSG. My scale says 1TB = 14g. So we're talking 64g of MSG. While not close to 100g, it still seems like a LOT. I mean, my bag of MSG says for 5 servings of soup, add 1/2 TB. This recipe is for ~6 servings.

I use MSG in lots of things, but the amount in this recipe seems high. This egg drop soup recipe from woksoflife for 6 servings uses 1/4 teaspoon. If you search on their website for MSG, most of the recipes for a similar number of servings uses about that much. Just search for MSG, and it'll show recipes that contain that ingredient.


Ramiel01 t1_j9tn0cj wrote

My mistake, I know the density of salt is about 2.2 g/mL and guessed wrong


redditguysays t1_j9tne9u wrote

Oh shoot. I wasn't trying to prove you wrong. I was just really curious about it. Your point (which I agree with) still stands - this is a lot of MSG for a recipe.


joleme t1_j9tlmdh wrote

I can't say I understand the reasoning behind it. There are diminishing returns on it, and 4tbsp is a friggan ton. I liberally shake a bottle of it over some of our food and MAYBE would end up using 1tbsp in an entire skillet/pan of something. OP also comes across as a bit elitist and rude.


Isellmetal t1_j9t3mfh wrote

The human body digests and metabolizes MSG extremely well. Even for people sensitive to it, several grams typically need to be ingested for negative effects to be felt such as headaches, drowsiness or upset stomach and there’s still zero proof of a True allergy to msg even existing.

So basically just like everything in life, moderation is key.