A Soup Of Chinese Lamb and Noodle


When we created this soup, we were influenced by the thick, milky broths found in traditional Cantonese dishes. Lamb shanks cooked for an extended period of time impart a rich earthy flavor to the dish, enhanced by the aromatics.

The richness of the noodles is tempered by the addition of bright green cilantro, Chinese celery, and chili oil.


This hearty soup is perfect if you’re spending your days outside in the cool air of autumn or winter.

Instead of bread, we use sweet potato glass noodles, which are thicker, although mung bean vermicelli, which is thinner, would work as well. Both would be a delectable choice.

No pre-boiling or picky “simmer” is required for this noodle soup, which might mean many different things to different people!


  • 3 lb. of lamb shanks(ut 1-2 shanks into pieces to expose the marrow)
  • 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • 4 slices of ginger (2-inches/5cm long, ⅛-inch/0.3 cm thick)
  • 3 scallions (cut into 2-inch/5cm lengths, white and green parts separated)
  • 12 cups of water
  • 6 large garlic cloves (smashed)
  • 3 pcs. of whole dried red chili peppers
  • 6 pcs. of white cardamom pods
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 nuggets of sand ginger
  • 1 2-inch/5cm piece of cassia cinnamon
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 tsp. of coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. of whole white peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup of dried wood ear mushrooms (rinsed thoroughly of any dust/dirt)
  • 2-3 tsp. of salt (to taste; we prefer 3 teaspoons)
  • 18 oz. of dried sweet potato glass noodles (or thin Chinese vermicelli noodles)
  • 1/2 cup of Chinese celery (finely chopped, to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro (leaves and stems, finely chopped to taste)
  • Chili oil, black vinegar, and freshly ground white pepper to taste, for serving (optional)


  1. Allow the meat to soak for 20 minutes in cold water. After rinsing and drying the bones, use a paper towel to remove any excess water.
  2. In a pot, pour water in and then heat the pot to a high temperature. Add the oil to the saucepan, ginger slices and the thicker white and light green sections of the scallions, once any remaining water in the pot has dried. Cook for a minute and a half, then remove from the heat.
  3. Cook the lamb until it has a light golden brown color on all sides by adding the oil and stirring frequently.
  4. Add the water once the lamb has been browned. Add the garlic, scallions’ green portions, and the seasonings (dried chili peppers, cardamom pods, star anise, bay leaves, sand ginger, cinnamon, black cardamom, coriander seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, white peppercorns, and fennel seeds).
  5. For 30 minutes, cover and simmer over medium-high heat. After that, lower the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for another hour. The broth should become turbid and milky within the first 20 minutes of simmering.
  6. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on low heat with the dry wood ears and salt, for a total cooking time of 2 hours.
  7. Boil the noodles according to package directions when ready to eat. Cut the lamb shanks into smaller pieces. Discard the bones and coarsely cut the flesh.
  8. Pour 2-3 ladlefuls of broth into each bowl using a fine-mesh strainer. Serve with chili oil, Chinese black vinegar, and white pepper as optional condiments, then sprinkle with a few chopped Chinese celery leaves and cilantro.
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