I used a few ingredients for the first time in this recipe: fish sauce and Chinese five-spices.
I have to admit, the fish sauce weirded me out. It was a tan color and a water consistency. I pictured someone pulling a fish from the lake and squeezing it over a sieve. I didn't taste it directly, but the bottle said you can use it like soy sauce and it's popular in Thai food.
The Chinese five-spices is an interesting mix of spices, including cinnamon and fennel. Even a little clover. Heck, if you wanted to, you could probably put it in your pumpkin pie. That would be interesting.
The noodles were straight up ramen, although you didn't use the seasoning packet. But, I wasn't fooled and I have too many memories of eating ramen in my dorm room when there was nothing else to eat. So I think next time I'll try some chinese egg noodles instead or even vermicelli.
This recipe also includes flank steak and I was surprised that you cooked it by simply throwing it into the broth and not in a skillet ahead of time. I was pleased since I feel like I usually mess up steak when I try to cook it in a skillet. The broth method made for really tender steak.
All these flavors combined, plus fresh ginger and cilantro, made this soup a party for my taste buds, which is why I'm sharing it with you. Enjoy!
Asian Beef and Noodle Soup
8 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs fish sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
4 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles, broken into large pieces, seasoning packets discarded
1 lb flank steak, cut lengthwise into thirds and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (see note)
1/2 medium head Napa cabbage, sliced thin crosswise (about 4 c)
1/4 c finely chopped fresh cilantro
Bring broth, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and five-spice powder to boil in Dutch oven. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until flavors meld (about 10 min).
Add noodles to simmering broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender (about 2 min). Stir in beef and cabbage and simmer until cabbage is wilted and beef is cooked through (about 2 min). Add cilantro. Serve.
Note: Freeze the steak for 15 min before cutting to ensure thin, even slices.