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How to make Julie's Kopitiam Taiwanese style beef and onion noodle broth at home

Fans of Julie's Kopitiam can still enjoy platters of Malaysian food thanks to the recently reinstated collection service. 

Published: May 15, 2020

If you'd rather try your hand at creating one of their dishes at home, owner of Julie's Kopitiam, Julie Lin has shared this recipe for Taiwanese style beef and onion noodle broth.

Julie says: "There’s nothing like a global pandemic and strict lockdown to make you truly realise what your body is needing in terms of sustenance in order to survive physically, and just as important - mentally.

"Nigella came up with one of my favourite quotes of all time to do with cooking for yourself - 'I know this is not true for everyone, but I feel that cooking is a way of strengthening oneself.'

"This sentiment I’m sure has been resonating with lots of us who love to potter around the kitchen when we have a spare minute, and that minute is now. We have time to potter and do some healing over this time and nourish ourselves with goodness. It’s our moment!

"The notion of sitting couried up with a big bowl of steaming goodness whilst watching telly has really got me through many ‘Groundhog’ style days recently.

"I’ve wanted the richness and sweetness of a French onion soup but also with the depth and complexity of a rich beefy aniseedy noodle soup - hence this take on a Taiwan style beef soup but with the silky sweetness of shallots and caramelised onions.

"And of course this goes hand in hand with wearing a big loosely fashioned bib and slurping noodles all down your front. Because everyone, it’s lockdown - and we are now all officially allowed to wear bibs. Enjoy.


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The recipe

For the broth 

300g rump steak into 3cm chunks

1 tbsp plain flour

4 white onions thinly sliced

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2 finely sliced shallots

Aromatics for broth

6 cm of thickly sliced ginger

6 cloves of garlic, bruised 

3 dried red chillis

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2 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

4 cardamon pods

(These are the aniseed flavours that were available to me but feel free to substitute with star anise or cloves too)

Flavourings for broth

1.5l water 

1.5 of a beef stock cube 

Dark Soy x 6 tbsp 

Chinese Vinegar (or malt vinegar) x 4 tbsp 

1.5 Tbsp Sugar 

1 tbsp sesame oil 

4 table spoons vegetable oil

For Noodle Bowl

2 eggs poached

4 table spoons vegetable oil

300g shin of beef diced into 3cm chunks

200g of eggs noodles


Toss the beef in 1 tbsp of plain flour. Frying it off in flour will thicken the broth in the end.

Get as wide a stock pot as you can and begin lightly browning the beef in little oil, season the beef with a little salt and pepper on a medium low heat. Once all the chunks are browned remove and set aside.

Put in three to four tbsp of veg oil or any flavourless oil and turn the heat down to a low temperature.

Add in your onions and shallots and allow to caramelise. Be patient at this step this takes a while till they go golden brown.

Whilst they are browning toast off coriander seeds, cinnamon, and cardamom in a dry pan or whatever aniseed-y flavours you have at hand. Toast until fragrant and set aside.

Once the onions have nearly finished caramelising use a little more oil and add in the garlic, dried chillies and ginger in a well in the middle, fry lightly for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the toasted spices back in the pan.

Now add about 1/3 of all the water you have prepared, mix everything together and allow it to come to a simmer.

Now add in the rest of the water and beef stock cube, allow this to come up to a boil for a minute then take it right back down to simmering point. Add your stewing beef back in.

Now add all the flavourings, dark soy, Chinese vinegar and sugar.

Depending on how fatty your beef is it’ll take a while to stew this down till it’s tender and for it to release the flavours, add more water where necessary so the broth doesn’t go too thick, but ensuring you don’t drown out the flavour.

Once the whole pot is nearly ready, add the sesame oil in to release flavour.

Now with the beef being super tender and the broth being fully flavourful. then assemble bowls.

Get your cooked noodles in the bowl with some greens you can get your hands on like spinach or kale etc (I used a small handful of Cavelo Nero here) place them in the bowl.

Get your poached eggs ready in the bowl. Scoop out some lovely pieces of beef and caramelised onion. Then pour the piping hot broth over everything. I like to serve mine with a bit of Sichuan chilli oil on top for heat. Eat straight away. 

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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