Tendon soup is a common-sense healing recipe that many of us have forgotten about with the rise of modern medicine. Eating tendon soup or tendon broth several times a week can help ligament and tendon injuries heal faster. If you are engaged in activities that stress the tendons and ligaments – such as martial arts, dance and/or intensive sports – tendon soup can also be eaten once a week to help prevent injury.
Tendon soup is a traditional Asian dish that can be found at Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, especially in cities where there is a large Asian population.
Below are two recipes for making tendon soup yourself.Note: Beef tendon is tough and often needs to be cooked a long time or soaked overnight in order to make it soft and tender.
Beef and Tendon Stew
- 2 lbs of beef (chuck or brisket cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 lb of beef tendon, cut into bite sized pieces (1 1/2 inches)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup Shao Hsing wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 star anise
- 1 fat thumb ginger, peeled and sliced into thick disks
- 1 medium piece of rock sugar (or to taste), if you can’t find rock sugar, use regular sugar
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 large or 4-5 small daikon, peeled and cut in large chunks
- 2 cups water
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add vegetable oil and turn heat to medium.
- Brown beef chunks on all sides being careful not to crowd the meat. Brown in batches until all the beef is done.
- Turn up the heat Remove beef and add Shao Hsing wine. Scrape the bottom of pot till all the browned bits have melted into the wine. Turn down heat a little if the wine is evaporating too quickly.
- Return the beef to the pot along with the tendon.
- Add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger, rock sugar, salt, soy sauce and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top.
- Turn heat to med low and let simmer for an hour.
- Add daikon and bring to a boil again. Immediately lower the heat and simmer for another 3-4 hours or until tendon and beef is tender. Make sure that the water level is close to the top of the meat (otherwise, whatever pieces are sticking out might get dried out and tough—stir every hour or so to ensure all the pieces get cooked through).
Beef Tendon and Noodle Soup
- ½ lb of beef tendon, rinsed
- Beef and pork bones
- One whole clove of garlic
- One onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. of black peppercorns
- Soy sauce, to taste
- 2-3 tbsps. of Rice cooking wine
- Sugar, to taste
- Cha soba or other noodles (Vermicelli Rice Noodles; Udon noodles etc.)
- Shredded vegetables (a combination of whatever you like, for instance, bok choy or pak choi, carrot and onion leaves)
- Fresh herbs and spices (again, a combination of whatever you like, for instance, finely sliced finger chilies, cilantro, mint or basil; blanched mushrooms, toasted sesame seeds are good too)
- Put the bones in a pot. Cover with water. Boil, skim off the scum that rises.
- Add tendons, onion, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorn to the bones.
- Lower the heat, cover and simmer for three to four hours or until the tendons are very tender.
- Scoop out the tendons. Cut into small pieces if they are large.
- Measure enough broth to make one bowl of noodle soup (or as many bowls as desired). Cool the rest, freeze and reserve for future use.
- Pour the measured broth into a small pan, add the soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes to get the flavors to blend.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles in boiling water, drain, dump in iced water then drain again.
- Assemble your noodle soup. Place the noodles in a bowl. Add as much or as little beef tendons as you like. Add vegetables and garnishes.