We have been selling out of the Woks of Life cookbook almost every week since we got it in! Such a great recommendation from stores team member Robin, who further introduced us to their Woks of Life Blog online!

As we cook through January, we are highlighting all of the whole spices collecting in our cabinets. This Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup uses a satchel of nine favorites and was a perfect dinner during Portland’s first snowy week, just days before the start of Lunar New Year.

While the original recipe is written for about 2 hours in an Instant Pot or 6 hours stovetop, I had great success popping it in the crockpot for 8 hours. Kaitlin, the original author, includes a step of boiling the beef before starting, to “remove any impurities”. This technique is native to Chinese cooking and may also be referred to as “water- velveting”. It removes any excess blood and primes the protein for cooking by kickstarting and tenderizing it. The recipe also contains 0 added salt, due to the soy sauce in the broth, but I found myself wishing it had just a bit more punch so I recommend tasting after you simmer to determine for yourself. Have fun with it! Try toppings above and beyond kimchi, Kaitlin recommends pickled mustard greens, I could imagine some marinated mushrooms, though any vegetable additions would be lovely. Happy cooking!

 Makes 4 servings




    1. Boil enough water to cover all of your cubed beef. Once boiling, add beef and boil for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cool water.
    2. Preheat your crockpot to 8 or 10 hours. Quarter your onion, 3 scallions, and tomato. Crush your ginger and garlic.
    3. Prepare your spice satchel. In a square of cheese cloth, add nine spices + secure with twine.
    4. In a skillet over medium heat, add your oil, ginger, garlic, scallions, and onion. Allow to caramelize on all sides before transferring to your crock pot and returning the skillet to medium heat. Add your tomato and dried chiles, toasting briefly before transferring to crock pot.
    5. Add meat, tomato paste, spicy paste, soy sauce, and mirin to crock pot and mix well.
    6. Top with spice satchel and water. Secure lid and allow to cook for the scheduled duration.
    7. Once time is up, bring a pot of water to boil. Add your noodles per package instructions and add your bokchoy to the same pot during the final two minutes of cooking. Drain all and prepare to serve.
    8. Slice remaining scallions, chop cilantro, and kimchi if desired.
    9. To serve, fill each dish with some noodles, bokchoy, beef, and soup broth. Top with kimchi, scallions, and cilantro. Finish with extra gochugaru flakes, if desired. Enjoy!


    January 12, 2023

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