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Asian Cinnamon Beef

Asian Cinnamon Beef - Cooking In Cleveland
Asian Cinnamon Beef

So this recipe was another one that was recommended to me by my coworker’s wife, Barb.  (amazing woman, never steers me wrong)  I made this dish for the first time late last year.  I have probably made it every other week since we first tried it.  It’s so yummy.

During Christmas break, Lyle and I were both hit with a pretty nasty cold.  This soup did just the trick.  It’s loaded with good-for-you ingredients like spinach, ginger, and garlic.  The spice also helps so that when you’re all stuffed up, you’ll still be able to taste this delicious soup.  Trust me, next time you’re feeling under the weather, add this to your dinner rotation.  It also heats up really well.

Full disclosure: I did NOT make up this recipe.  It’s from this awesome cookbook by Nina Simonds.  We did make some adjustments to the soup to make it more of our taste.  For example: we really love ginger so while the original recipe only called for a few slices of ginger to be removed after the soup simmers, I prefer to grate up a good bit of fresh ginger as well as rough chop a little bit to add to the soup.  It makes the ginger flavor a lot more intense which I think helps to counteract the large amount of garlic going on in the soup.  I do highly recommend adding this cookbook to your Amazon cart the next time you’re browsing.  It has a lot of great asian recipes including tons of sauces and dressings.

There are a few ingredients in this recipe that, if you’re not used to cooking asian foods, you might not already have on hand.  The aniseed you can find in the spice aisle at your grocery store.  I bought the small spice container and have made this dish multiple times without restocking so that should be fine for you to get.  It’s really important that you also get cinnamon sticks.  I wouldn’t recommend ground cinnamon since the flavor is more potent and you’re going to be simmering these in the broth so the sticks hold up better.

Also, make sure that you’re using low sodium soy sauce.  It’s a better idea to add your own salt to taste when finishing the dish rather than using regular soy sauce.  Similar to butter, there’s no sodium standard for soy sauce and it can vary greatly from brand to brand.  You can see that we use Tamari rather than soy sauce.  Tamari is the Japanese version of soy sauce and tends to be thicker than Chinese soy sauce.  Tamari contains less wheat than Chinese soy sauce, and might be a good option to look into if you have gluten intolerance.  We like Tamari because I think it has a much more intense flavor and is a little thicker than regular soy sauce.  The other items like udon noodles and the Thai chili paste you can likely find in your grocer’s asian aisle.  If you’re in a pinch, you can use regular fettuccine in place of the udon noodles.

Ready for the recipe?


Serves: 4 to 6


  • 6 green onions (chop up half of them into 1/2 inch pieces and the rest chop up for garnish)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced.  1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp thai red chili paste
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed
  • 8 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 lbs beef chuck (I buy the meat that’s already chopped for beef stew at the grocery store)
  • 1/2 bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2 lb udon noodles


  • Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and add some canola oil (or other high heat oil).
I like to use my Le Creuset dutch oven for this.  If you don’t have a Le Creuset, I cannot recommend them enough.  Luckily, you can easily find them at places like Tj Maxx HomeGoods and Marshalls–they are quite pricey even at those places, but well worth it.  It’s easily the most used pot in our kitchen.
  • Once the oil is hot and fragrant (roughly 30 seconds), add in the seasonings (everything down to  and including the aniseed).  Stir-fry until the spices are fragrant and beginning to toast. (about 15-20 seconds)

  • Add in the water and soy sauce, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. (side note: i’d suggest adding the water first since the soy sauce can be a bit intense over heat and the water helps)

  • Once the liquid is simmering, add in the beef.

  • Cover the pot with a heavy lid, lower the heat, and allow the mix to simmer for about an hour and a half.
  • When the soup is almost done, make your noodles according to the directions on the package.
  • After the soup has simmered for about an hour and 20 minutes, add in the baby spinach, and allow to wilt in the soup for the remaining 10 minutes.

  • Add the noodles to a bowl, top with the soup and garnish with the chopped green onions.  Sometimes I like to add a little Sriracha, but taste the soup first because it has a good bit of spice on its own already.

Enjoy!  Also let me know if you make this dish by either commenting below or tagging me on Instagram at #cookingincleveland


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Rachel Gatalica

Welcome to Cooking in Cleveland! I want to share delicious, healthy and approachable recipes with you. I want to help highlight local Cleveland artisans and events and put a focus on using local foods!
  • Brainstorming future goals and plans for @cooking_in_cleveland this evening with a #dairyfree #decaflatte and a snuggly puppy by my side.  So grateful for everyone that has followed along so far.  I can't wait for what's to come! #wordpressbloggergirl #staytuned  #nespressomoment
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  • While on the #Whole30 challenge, the unthinkable happened…I learned to LIKE cauliflower.  I blame this recipe and some of the other stir fry dishes we made that used fresh cauliflower rice.

This dish is mostly #Whole30 compliant except for any additions you might make to this recipe such as #Sriracha for added heat or swapping soy sauce instead of the coconut aminos.

Check out the link in my bio and let me know what you think!

#Whole30 #Sriracha #StirFryMadeEasy #FreshFood #CookingInCleveland #QuickDinner #WeeknightWarrior #DinnerUnder30
  • Oooh baby tomorrow we're back...and we're turning this shitload of vegetables into a delicious (and quick) dinner tomorrow. .
For real, under 35 minutes from start to finish and hacks to make it even easier if you're feeling super lazy. .
Check back tomorrow 😘
#Whole30 #Sriracha #StirFryMadeEasy #FreshFood #CookingInCleveland #QuickDinner #WeeknightWarrior #DinnerUnder30
  • Today marks #day30 on my #Whole30 challenge!  To celebrate, i’m sharing one of my favorite #Whole30 compliant recipes.
This yummy soup comes together in no time and can be made from staples you can likely find in your pantry, garden or local farmers market!
Check out the link in my bio for the recipe!! Also if you haven’t signed up for our email blasts yet, make sure you check out the widget at the bottom of the website!  We’re sending monthly recaps of all the recipes we post as well as links to our social media pages.

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  • This week on Cooking In Cleveland, i’m sharing a really healthy and quick dinner that is equal parts filling and delicious.  I’m also talking a little bit about the #Whole30 challenge that we’re in the middle of and being honest about some of the highs and lows we’ve experienced on the plan.

This recipe is a really delicious grain-free dinner option and I’m wiling to bet you won’t really miss the pasta.  Click the link in my bio to check out the recipe!

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  • After a break last week I am back and sharing a yummy pasta dish!  We’re not just cooking with wine this week, i’m also talking about a yummy Italian wine that I paired with this meal.

Click on the link in my bio to check out the recipe.  Make sure you let me know if you decide to either try the pasta or just the wine!

#cookingincleveland #winenot #ItalianWine #PastaPlease #CleFoodBlogger #delightfuldinner #foodblog #drunknoodles
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  • Starting our #whole30 a week from tomorrow and trying to plan out some more plant focused recipes in the meantime.  This BBQ chicken salad was full of flavor and healthy crunchy vegetables.  Thinking of sharing the recipe soon...can you call a salad a recipe?
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