Since I started this website I have had quite a few requests to produce my version of this aromatic Vietnamese beef soup. What the hell was I waiting for! Tender beef strips ‘cooked’ in a gorgeously scented Asian broth and topped with crunchy aromatic sprouts and herbs with slippery strands of rice noodle…….simply sensational. This will be a “Mum I feel sick” soup, a new comfort food that is not only light on the waistline but is so simple to make it is almost ridiculous. Beef Pho, where have you been all my life?
Prep time: 20 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
400gm of beef fillet*
1 litre of beef stock
1 litre of water
5cm piece of ginger, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised with the flat of your knife
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
3 Star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbs of caster sugar
1/3 cup of fish sauce
350gm of flat rice stick noodles
3 handfuls of been sprouts
1 large red chilli, seeds removed, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup of mint leaves
1/2 cup of coriander leaves
1/2 cup of vietnamese mint leaves (thai basil or normal basil will substitute)
3 spring onions, very finely sliced diagonally
Place the stock, water, ginger, garlic, onion, star anise, cinnamon sticks, caster sugar and fish sauce in a large stock pot. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid for 30 minutes. You can definitely do this for longer and I am quite sure the flavours will intensify but I am just giving you the quick version. After 30 minutes strain the stock and discard all of the aromatics. Return the stock to the pot and make sure it is nice and hot before ladling over the soup as it will literally cook the thin strips of beef.
Slice the beef into wafer thin strips. A good tip is to freeze the beef first and slice it when it is defrosting.
In a large bowl place the bean sprouts, chilli strips, coriander, mint, vietnamese mint and spring onions and toss gently with your fingers.
Cook the rice noodles according to packet instructions. Drain and run through a little hot water.
Divide the noodles among four serving bowls. Top with the beef strips and ladle over the hot broth. Top the soup with the crunchy sprout mix and serve immediately.
*I prefer to use beef fillet because it is so tender but by all means use sirloin if it better suits your budget. Just remove the fat from the edge before slicing into thin strips.