Noodle Soup with Beef and Cabbage

Our trip to France disrupted my usual routine to decide every Friday what to eat for the upcoming week and to do all of the grocery shopping needed for that. So on Tuesday after work there were no groceries in the fridge for cooking, nor a plan. So I went to the supermarket (since specialty stores like butchers were already closed) and had to decide on the spot what I wanted to make with the produce available. I bought some wet-aged south american sirloin and Chinese cabbage to stir-fry and serve with rice. When I came home, I decided to make noodle soup instead. Not using a recipe and certainly not an authentic dish, but just by throwing together what I thought would work well. It worked out well, and I believe this recipe (if you can call it that) can very easily be adapted by changing proteins, veggies, or spices to your liking. The most important thing to remember to get it right, is to not overcook the proteins or veggies and to make sure you use proper stock (either home-made or good-quality store-bought, never from a bouillon cube).


For 2 servings

250 grams (0.55 lbs) sirloin or other tender beef

400 grams (0.9 lbs) Chinese cabbage, shredded

1 green onion

1/2 inch of fresh ginger

fresh red chile pepper to taste (I used 1/3 with seeds)

2 cups beef stock

2 Tbsp mirin

2 Tbsp sake

2 Tbsp Japanese soy sauce


100 grams (4 oz) Japanese noodles (soba or udon)

4 Tbsp vegetable oil with a high smoking point (oil for stir frying is a good choice)


Cut the Chinese cabbage into 1 1/2 cm (1/2 inch) slices. I used the white part, but you could also use the leafy part.

Peel and chop the ginger. Chop the chile pepper. Chop the green onion, reserving the green part for garnish.

Slice the beef against the grain in 8 mm (1/3 inch) slices. Season lightly with salt right before browning.

Heat up the oil in a frying pan over very high heat and brown the beef very quickly. It should remain as raw as possible on the inside.

Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and set aside. The beef will be cooked slightly while it rests.

Lower the heat and sauté the ginger, chile pepper and green onion for a minute.

Add the cabbage and sauté a minute longer.

Add the beef stock and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape all the taste from the bottom of the pan.

Cover and let simmer until the cabbage is cooked but still has some bite to it, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles in abundant boiling water according to package instructions, and rinse with cold water.

Slice the beef into bite-size pieces. Remove the cover, turn off the heat and let the beef get up to temperature in the hot stock. Be careful not to overcook the beef, it should remain medium.

Take two large soup bowls and put half of the cold noodles in each bowl.

Top with the soup and garnish with green onions. The noodles will warm up in the hot stock.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with some more soy sauce if needed.

Eat with chop sticks and drink the stock from the bowl like the Japanese do.

15 thoughts on “Noodle Soup with Beef and Cabbage

  1. Stefan: an excellent entry in the “Oh S%*t, what am I going to cook tonight” category. We all face it from time to time. Thanks for the diversity.


              1. That link takes me to the same freshly pressed page I normally see… I suspect that if I select the food page it will list your post eventually. Have you tried scrolling through the entries?


                1. I have and it still doesn’t look like my post has actually been freshly pressed. For example, the post “Cake is a food group, right” is freshly pressed. If you then click on “More Baking” below, you will see more posts that are tagged “baking”, but those posts are NOT freshly pressed.
                  I also don’t get more views than usually.


  2. Some of my best soups have come from similar situations: desperate. If, as you wrote, use good stock and don’t overcook the protein, you can create a very delicious soup with whatever you have in the fridge. Good job, Stefan!


  3. Looks wonderful. I also agree with John that good stock and proper treatment of the protein makes a great dish every time. I remember when the kids were at home complaining there was nothing to eat. Grab what was in the fridge and a good stock and viola a meal they liked and was really good. You gotta eat and there is no reason you should short change yourself. One of the kinds has figured this out and hopefully the other 4 will figure it out someday.


    1. Thanks, Richard. Only one of the kids figured this out? Strange with you as a father.
      I don’t (and won’t) have any children, but I do have lots of friends who I am trying to teach a little about food and cooking (and wine). I enjoy that very much and it’s great to see my friends eating better and trying out new things.


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