Vietnamese beef soup
- March 2006
- Serves 4
- Takes 3¾ effortless hours to make, plus cooling
This delicious spicy soup recipe takes a while to make but very little effort. The techniques used to make it are possibly a legacy of the French colonisation of Vietnam.
- 4g (1.6g saturated)
- 51.5g (7.9g sugars)
- 1-1.3kg beef rib or shin bone
- 1 large onion, cut in half with skin on
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 50g fresh ginger, unpeeled and halved
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 2 cloves
- 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised, or grated zest of
- ½ lemon
- 4 tbsp fish sauce, plus extra to serve
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 200g medium rice noodles
- 2 heads Chinese-type greens, pak choi is ideal, roughly chopped
- 2 thick-cut sirloin steaks, trimmed
- Bunch of spring onions, cut into short lengths
- 150g beansprouts
- 2-3 small red chillies, sliced
- 2 limes, halved
- Small bunch of fresh Thai basil or tarragon
- Small bunch of fresh Vietnamese coriander, or regular coriander
- First, make the stock. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Put the bone, onion, garlic and ginger in a roasting tray and cook for 1 hour.
- Transfer to a large pan and add 2.5 litres cold water. Add the cinnamon, cloves and lemongrass or zest and bring to a simmer on the hob. Cook for 2 hours, then strain into a bowl, discarding the solids – you should have about 1 litre. Season with the fish sauce, salt and sugar. Ideally, cool overnight, then skim any fat from the top.
- To make the final dish, cook the noodles in plenty of boiling water for 2 minutes, until just tender. Drain, cool under cold running water and divide the noodles between bowls.
- Put the stock into a large wok or pan and heat until simmering. Add the Chinese greens. Thinly slice the steaks, add to the pan and remove from the heat – this means the steak is only just cooked and very tender.
- Divide the soup between the bowls of noodles, then top with the spring onions. The beansprouts, chillies, limes and herbs are served at the table, with extra fish sauce. Each diner wilts the herbs and beansprouts into the broth, then tempers it with lime juice, chillies and fish sauce.
For this, you ideally need to work a day ahead. The stock is unique and the roasting of bones with garlic and ginger seems unusual for Asian cooking.
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