Panda Broth Noodle Soup

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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One 2-inch piece fresh ginger

8 tablespoons bouillon powder

1 tablespoon white peppercorns 

1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns 

3 pieces star anise 

1 cup bean sprouts 

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white bottoms and green tops separated

1 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced, stalks and leaves separated


One 16-ounce package wheat or egg noodles

24 store-bought Asian-style meatballs

Chili oil, for serving  


Special equipment:
a piece of cheesecloth and some butcher's twine
  1. For the broth: Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the ginger and cook, turning occasionally, until blackened and slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. In a large stockpot, bring 8 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add the bouillon powder and stir to combine. Fold the cheesecloth into a square. Place the ginger, white and Sichuan peppercorns and star anise in the middle and tie the top with butcher's twine to make a pouch. Add the spice pouch to the broth. Stir in the bean sprouts, scallion whites and Napa cabbage stalks, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the flavors have infused and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the broth and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 5 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a rolling boil. Stir in the noodles and cook until cooked through, 9 to 12 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain well.
  4. Fry or steam the meatballs according to the package directions.
  5. To serve, divide the noodles among 8 bowls. Ladle over the hot broth and top with the scallion greens, Napa cabbage leaves and meatballs. Serve with a drizzle of chili oil if desired.