Sichuan Beef Soup

Photo: Marcus Nilsson; Styling: Angharad Bailey

Beef shank works beautifully for slow-cooked soups, breaking down during long simmering to render the aromatic broth superbeefy.

Yield: Serves 4
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Recipe Time

Hands On: 30 Minutes
Total: 11 Hours, 30 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 408
  • Fat: 8.6g
  • Saturated fat: 2.4g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g
  • Protein: 40.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.1g
  • Fiber: 2.9g
  • Cholesterol: 53mg
  • Iron: 4.5mg
  • Sodium: 635mg
  • Calcium: 97mg


  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 pounds (2-inch-thick) bone-in beef shanks
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil or canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chile garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black bean garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cup sliced green onions, divided
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound fresh Chinese-style wheat noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. 1. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add beef shanks; boil until surface of meat is no longer red (about 6 minutes). Drain shanks; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; reserve bones. Cut meat into cubes.
  2. 2. Rinse pan; wipe clean with paper towels. Heat pan over high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add white onion, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 4 minutes or until browned. Stir in 6 cups water, chile garlic sauce, and black bean sauce. Place peppercorns and star anise on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Add cheesecloth bag, 1/2 cup green onions, sugar, and soy sauce to pan. Return meat and bones to pan. Bring to a simmer. Partially cover, and simmer gently for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Uncover and simmer 1 hour or until reduced to about 5 cups. Cool to room temperature; cover and chill overnight.
  3. 3. Skim fat from soup; discard fat. Discard bones and cheesecloth bag. Bring soup to a simmer. Add tomatoes and bok choy; cook 5 minutes or until bok choy is tender.
  4. 4. Cook noodles according to package directions. Place about 1/2 cup noodles in each of 4 bowls. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl, dividing bok choy evenly. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons green onions and 1 tablespoon cilantro.
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