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Spicy Cumin Beef on Knife-Cut Noodles (Ft. Dried Daoxiaomian)

Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


Spicy Cumin Beef (for 5-6 bowls)

  • 2 pounds beef chuck
  • 4 tablespoons oil (roasted rapeseed oil or a neutral cooking oil)
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 green onions, cut in 1-inch lengths
  • 4 dried facing heaven zidantou chilies, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin, roughly ground with a mortar & pestle or spice grinder
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 Chinese black cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons 3-year Pixian doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably Zhongba)
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (preferably Zhongba)
  • ½ red onion, cut in half, then in thin slices
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch squares
  • ½ green bell pepper, cut in 1-inch squares
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground red Sichuan pepper

Per noodle bowl

  • 70 grams dried wide knife-cut noodles (daoxiaomian) (one bundle)
  • slim wedge cabbage, cut in large bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (preferably Zhongba)
  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar (preferably Baoning or Shanxi)
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • thinly sliced green onion
  • thinly sliced celery
  • chili oil or chili crisp


Spicy Cumin Beef

  • Add the 2-pound chunk of chuck to a large pot of water, bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the beef, allow to cool, then cut into bite-size, 1½-inch cubes.
  • Add 4 tablespoons cooking oil to a wok or dutch oven over a medium-low flame. Add the ginger, garlic and green onions and stir-fry briefly, until fragrant. Add the dried chilies, cumin, star anise, black cardamom and doubanjiang and continue to stir-fry briefly until the douban is toasty, being careful not to scorch it. Add the beef and water and bring to a boil. Skim off any remaining sludge from the top of the water, then add the wine, soy sauce and dark soy sauce.
  • Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. After 1 hour, remove the lid and simmer for another ½ to 1 hour. The length of time will depend on the size of the beef cubes and how tender you like your beef. We like fall-apart beef, so simmer 2 hours total. The sauce will reduce, but you do not want it to disappear, as it is part of the sauce for the noodle bowls. So if there is not enough sauce, add water to make some. You can make the recipe up to this point and hold until making the noodle bowls.
  • While preparing the noodles, add the red onion, red and green bell peppers to the beef and simmer just until softened, around 10 minutes. Add the ground Sichuan pepper, stir thoroughly, cover the pot and turn off the heat.

Per noodle bowl

  • In each serving bowl, add the soy sauce, vinegar, oyster sauce and 3 tablespoons of the cumin beef braising liquid.
  • Add one bundle of noodles per person (around 70 grams) to a pot of boiling water and cook until they are about half-way done. Add cabbage and continue boiling until the noodles are just soft. (This is 7-8 minutes total for The Mala Market's knife-cut noodles.)
  • Lift the noodles and cabbage with tongs and hold/shake until most of the water is drained away and layer on top of the bowl of sauce. Top the noodles with a few chunks of cumin beef (with bell pepper and onion) and some of its sauce. Garnish with green onions and celery. Drizzle with chili oil or crisp. Diners should thoroughly stir their bowls before they eat, mixing all the goodies together.


One could use really any braised meat for these noodles, following this blueprint: 
  • Start with a base of sauce in the bottom of each serving bowl: 1 teaspoon each soy sauce, black vinegar and oyster sauce, mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of the braising liquid
  • Cook some cabbage (or other Asian green, or even cubed carrots or potatoes) in with the noodles and add the noodles and cabbage directly from the pot into each bowl, shaking off most of the water before plopping them in
  • (Alternatively, make it into soup noodles by adding a ladle or two of clear broth or noodle water at this stage)
  • Top the noodles with the braised beef and some of its sauce
  • Garnish with your choice of fresh and/or pickled veg: green onions, Chinese chives, minced celery, zhacai pickle, suan cai pickle, long bean or other pickle from the paocai jar, etc.
  • Add a final drizzle of homemade chili oil or chili crisp
  • You've reached Noodle Nirvana