Sichuan ‘Chongqing’ Noodle Soup

Chongqing noodles, also known in Chinese as xiao mian, is unlike any noodle soup that has passed your lips before. It’s a popular dish that hails from the Sichuan province of China and boy, am I glad it’s made its way into my kitchen. It’s savoury. Spicy. Fiery, even. But SO. DARN. ADDICTIVE. Here, I’ve topped my version of Sichuan Chongqing noodle soup with a sticky and tender braised beef, and the result is glorious.


Sichuan ‘Chongqing’ Noodle Soup

20 minutes
2 hours 15 minutes

Braised beef:

700g (1 lb 8 oz) beef chuck steak, cut into roughly 4cm (1.5”) cubes

sea salt

1 tbsp vegetable oil

½ cup Chinese Shaoxing wine

4 spring onions (scallions), cut into batons

4cm (1.5”) piece ginger, julienned

2 whole star anise

½ tsp Chinese five spice

2 tbsp doubanjiang*

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar


Chilli oil:

100g (3.5 oz) small dried red chillies

2 tbsp green Sichuan peppercorns

2 cups vegetable oil, plus 1 tsp extra


Bowl bases:

4cm (1.5”) piece ginger, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped spring onion (scallions)

4 tsp Chinese black vinegar*

4 tsp sesame oil

6 cups chicken stock

400g (14 oz) dried thin wheat noodles

¼ cup roasted peanuts, crushed

4 tbsp finely chopped pickled mustard greens*

finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve

  • Step 1

    Season the beef pieces with a generous amount of salt. Next, place a heavy-based pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then carefully add in the seasoned beef. You should hear a wonderful sizzle immediately. Sear the beef on the first side for 4-5 minutes or until a golden crust forms. Then use tongs to turn the beef and sear for a further 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, or until there’s plenty of golden crusty goodness on most sides of the beef. The goal here is to get some colour on the meat to create flavour, rather than cooking it all the way through.

  • Step 2

    Pour in the Chinese Shaoxing wine to deglaze the pan and lift all those gorgeous caramelised bits from the base. Next, add the remaining ingredients as well as 2 cups of water, then gently stir through until well incorporated. Place the lid on top of your pan and turn the heat down to low. Simmer away for roughly 90 minutes or until the beef is soft and tender.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, let’s make the chilli oil. Place the pile of dried chillies on a chopping board. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, snip at the chillies to cut them into large chunks. Scoop up the chillies and place into a colander, then give everything a good shake. We want to try and remove as many of the chilli seeds as possible, otherwise they may burn in the hot oil later.

  • Step 4

    Place a wok or large frying pan over low heat and add the chilli pieces. Dry roast the chillies, stirring, for 4–7 minutes or until they’re fragrant and toasty. Now add in 1 tsp of vegetable oil and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes or so until they turn glossy and a shade darker. Add in the Sichuan peppercorns and toss for another 30 seconds until fragrant. Transfer the mixture to a blender or spice grinder and pulse to a coarse powder. Now transfer the powder to a large heatproof jar.

  • Step 5

    Place the remaining 2 cups of vegetable oil in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat for around 10 minutes or until a wooden spoon dipped into the oil forms little bubbles. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the hot oil over the chilli and peppercorn powder in the jar. Set aside to cool.

  • Step 6

    Bring a large pot of water to the boil.

  • Step 7

    Now let’s build the bowl bases. Divide the ginger, garlic, spring onion, Chinese black vinegar and sesame oil between your serving bowls. Spoon in as much chilli oil as you think you can handle (it’s pretty hot!) into each bowl, too.

  • Step 8

    Heat the chicken stock. Dividing it equally between each serving bowl, ladle it on top of all your aromatics.

  • Step 9

    Add the noodles to your boiling water. Cook according to packet instructions or until just tender, then drain and divine among serving bowls.

  • Step 10

    Top with pieces of beef, peanuts and pickled mustard greens. Sprinkle over coriander and serve.

  • Notes

    – Otherwise known as chinkiang vinegar, Chinese black vinegar is available from Asian grocers. However, if you are unable to find it, substitute it with half balsamic and half white vinegar.

    – Pickled mustard greens are mustard greens that have been brined in a salt solution and fermented. They give a lovely salty and tangy flavour to a dish. I couldn’t find the Chinese version near me, so I used the Thai version instead.

    – Doubanjiang is a Chinese fermented broad bean and chilli paste. It can be found at an Asian grocer or ordered online.

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What our customers say

4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 6 reviews)
Very good17%

Takes us back to Melbourne


My partner and I made this and we absolutely loved it! We followed the recipe from start to finish and didn’t change anything! 100% would make again. My lips are still burning 🔥

Avatar for Chloe



Disclaimer, vegetarian. That said, a good quality, non-french-style broth simmered with some shiitake mushrooms and MSG worked really well. It became a beautiful vibrant red when mixed with the bowl base, the citrus notes from the peppercorns were lovely, and the chewy wheat noodles are always pleasing. I threw some store-bought dumplings on top because I could. Absolutely delicious, will keep it in my winter rotation!

Avatar for Tracy

Yummy 🤤 but made amendments


Such a yummy recipe but my soup was bland so I poured the resulting braised beef broth into my soup which made it much better and added some salt. I recommend to just skip or add very minimal oil if you want a less oily version. For the chili oil I only did 1.5oz chilli peppers and 1cup oil it was plenty,next time I would just do 1oz chilli peppers and no oil to make it healthier

Avatar for Jessica

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