5 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup Chinese rice wine or medium-dry Sherry
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (1-inch) cube peeled fresh ginger, smashed
1 bunch scallions, white parts smashed with flat side of a large knife and green parts chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
10 fresh cilantro stems plus 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs
2 (2-inch-long) pieces Asian dried tangerine peel*
4 whole star anise
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 1/2 lb meaty beef short ribs
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 oz)
10 oz dried Chinese wheat noodles or linguine
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
4 tablespoons Chinese pickled mustard greens
1 (4-inch-long) fresh red chile (optional), thinly sliced
Bring water, soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, ginger, white parts of scallion, garlic, cilantro stems, tangerine peel, star anise, and red pepper flakes to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pot, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add short ribs and gently simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until meat is very tender but not falling apart, 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours. Let meat stand in cooking liquid, uncovered, 1 hour.
Transfer meat to a cutting board with tongs and discard bones and membranes, then cut meat across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. 3Pour beef broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Skim fat from cooking liquid and transfer liquid to a 3-quart saucepan. Add chicken broth and meat and reheat soup over moderately low heat.
Meanwhile, cook noodles in a 6- to 8-quart pot of (unsalted) boiling water until tender, about 7 minutes (14 to 15 minutes for linguine). Drain noodles well in a colander and divide among 4 large soup bowls.
Ladle broth over noodles and top with meat, scallion greens, bean sprouts, pickled mustard greens, cilantro sprigs, and red chile