Filipino Soup (Beef Pares Mami) is an ultra comforting soup with a deep, vibrant pho-like flavour that -thankfully- is very simple to make. This short-cut version of the Filipino classic has store bought beef broth simmered with aromatics like cinnamon sticks and star anise plus fresh vegetables, herbs, lime juice, and chiles to give it that homemade, super fresh taste.
I was thrilled recently when I received a review copy of my friend Abigail Soto Raines’ new book “Rice. Noodles. Yum.: Everyone’s Favourite Southeast Asian Recipes.”
The book promises favourite Southeast Asian foods, which are my go-to flavour profile most days of the week, so I was most definitely excited when Abigail offered a review copy of the book to me.
I immediately fixed on Pares Mami -Filipino Beef Noodle Soup- as the first recipe I was going to try in the book. It was a natural choice since I loved all of the ingredients; tender cubes of beef, egg noodles, fragrant beef broth, soy sauce, Savoy or Napa cabbage, crispy fried garlic, slivered hot peppers, green onions, hard-boiled egg, and lime juice.
I could tell by reading it that I was going to love it. All of that ads up to my culinary happy place.
And awesomely, Pares Mami is so easy to make. You sear beef cubes, church up store bought beef broth by simmering it and the beef cubes with aromatic spices (star anise, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger), then scoop that over freshly cooked noodles, thinly sliced cabbage, chili peppers, green onions, and fried garlic, then garnish with hard boiled egg and fresh herbs.
I cannot overstate how comforting this beef noodle soup is.
It’s the kind of soup I would turn to when I was out of time and/or not feeling well. It’s as easy as can be and so, so good.
What Noodles to Use for Filipino Noodle Soup
There’s nothing quite like noodle soup in terms of comfort factors, and Filipino noodle soup is super high on the list. You can use either fresh or dried egg noodles for your Pares Mami, according to what is available.
Traditionally, Mami noodles are used for the soup, which are basically Chinese style egg noodles. You can also use skinny egg noodles or spaghetti if you can’t find Mami noodles.
Of those two substitutions, fine egg noodles are the closest in terms of flavour and texture with spaghetti being acceptable.
In a pinch, you could toss in just about any cooked pasta you have on hand from far farfalle to ramen noodles to Korean glass noodles, but you’ll get the most authentic flavour from noodles made of wheat, egg, and salt.
How to make Filipino Soup
Filipino Soup (a.k.a. Beef Pares Mami) is a beautiful combination of two traditional dishes: beef pares and beef Mami. Beef pares refers to the tender, simmered beef cubes while beef Mami is a beef noodle soup.
In combination, they create the most comforting dish bursting with freshness. It reminds me quite a bit of Vietnamese pho with all the fresh lime, vegetables, and herbs.
You start with an inexpensive cut of beef; I like to use top round because it is the least expensive per pound and is pretty lean, so it does well for simmering in soup.
Other good choices for the beef are chuck steak and beef brisket. Choose a lean, inexpensive cut of beef because a pricier, marbled piece of beef is better suited to a faster, drier cooking method.
Once you’ve chosen your beef, cut it into bite sized cubes, sear in a little oil, then add in the store bought broth, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, and garlic to the soup pot and bring it to a boil. Plunk the lid in place then drop the heat to low and simmer until the beef is tender.
While the beef simmers, you boil the noodles in a separate pot of water, drain them, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
Once your beef pares (cubes) are tender, you pile some cooked noodles in a bowl, layer some shredded savoy or Napa cabbage, thinly sliced Chile peppers, and cilantro leaves over the noodles, ladle beef and broth (leaving aside the cinnamon sticks and star anise), and nestle a halved hard boiled egg on top of the works. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the top, add some cilantro, sprinkle with some fried garlic, and get ready to be happy.
Life does not get better than when you’re leaned over a bowl slurping Filipino Noodle Soup.
Want more soups for soup season? Try this Tortellini Vegetable Soup. Are you looking for something a little heartier? Try this Curried Beef Oven Stew. Do you have some chicken to use up? Try this Mexican Chicken Soup(Caldo de Pollo) on for size. If you’re looking for something with Italian flair, try this Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Bean Soup)!
Wanna buy Rice. Noodles. Yum? Here’s a link!
-Heat the oil in a stock pot over high heat. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the beef cubes and add them to the pot.
-Sear the beef cubes on all sides, until the beef is browned all over. Add the garlic to the pot and stir until the garlic is fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
-Add the broth, water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and ginger to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any flavourful bits that stuck to it.
-When the stock reaches a boil, add a lid to the pan, drop the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add the soy sauce to the broth.
-To assemble the soup for serving, divide the noodles between 6 deep soup bowls. Divide the cabbage, green onions, and hard-boiled egg halves between the bowls, then top with red chili slices.
-Ladle the broth and beef over the noodles, garnish with fried garlic and cilantro and serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over it just before serving.-
Filipino Soup Beef Pares Mami
- 2 tablespoons canola, sunflower, or vegetable oil
- 2 to 3 pounds top round beef or chuck roast or beef brisket
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 4 cups beef broth
- 4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 star anise
- 1 inch fresh ginger root pounded lightly to release the juices
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 pound egg noodles cooked according to package instructions, drained, and rinsed in cold water to stop the cooking
- 4 1/2 cups shredded Savoy or Napa cabbage
- 6 green onions thinly sliced
- 3 hardboiled eggs halved
- fried garlic
- 1 fresh red chili pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1 lime cut into 6 wedges
- Heat the oil in a stock pot over high heat. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the beef cubes and add them to the pot. Sear the beef cubes on all sides, until the beef is browned all over. Add the garlic to the pot and stir until the garlic is fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
- Add the broth, water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and ginger to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any flavourful bits that stuck to it.
- When the stock reaches a boil, add a lid to the pan, drop the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add the soy sauce to the broth.
- To assemble the soup for serving, divide the noodles between 6 deep soup bowls. Divide the cabbage, green onions, and hard-boiled egg halves between the bowls, then top with red chili slices. Ladle the broth and beef over the noodles, garnish with fried garlic and cilantro and serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over it just before serving.
Rice. Noodles. Yum Book Review
Here are the details you may want to know about the book.
Number of Photos:
Every recipe has a corresponding photo so you can see how your final dish is supposed to look even if you’re unfamiliar with it.
Easy to Medium. While many of the recipes are quite simple, there are some that require the ability to organize yourself while doing multiple steps in a recipe. It’s not at all intimidating, though.
Availability of Ingredients:
Medium. There are many ingredients that are easy to find, but there are a few that will require easy orders from Amazon.com or a trip to a local gourmet market or Asian grocer.
Other Recipes I Want to Try from Rice. Noodles. Yum.
Keputat (Compressed Rice with peanut dipping sauce)
Basic Garlic Fried Rice
Pineapple Fried Rice
Pad See Ew (Flat Noodles Stir Fried in Soy Sauce)
Arroz a la Cubana (Rice with Ground Meat, Fried Egg, and Plantain)
Bibinka (Coconut Rice Cakes)
Nasi Ulam (Rice Herb Salad)
Who is this Book for?
This book is a great introduction to cooking Southeast Asian cuisine at home if you love the food and don’t know where to start. It’s also a great resource for folks who have moved away from Southeast Asia and want to recreate some favourite comfort foods in their new home.