Vietnamese beef noodle soup

The first time we ate Vietnamese beef noodle soup was when we were studying in Australia over 10 years ago. To us this dish we associate with Cabramatta in Sydney, where there is a large Vietnamese population and where we first ate it. In an attempt to relive that experience, my wife decided to cook this for dinner on Monday.

There are different parts of this dish which needs to be prepared.

Beef stock: This is made by heating various spices – star anise, cinnamon and cloves, and adding these and the roasted ginger and onions to soup stock. This is brought to boil and then allowed to simmer.

Beef stock with various spices (including star anise and coriander seeds)
Beef stock with various spices (star anise, cinnamon, cloves and coriander seeds)

Beef and noodles: My wife bought a nice slice of rib-eye steak for this dish; ideally it should be sirloin steak. The beef was kept in the freezer for a short period of time to allow it to harden enough to enable easier slicing into very thin slices. Once it is firm enough, my wife took it out and sliced it very thinly. The raw slices of beef were then placed on the flat rice noodles (which has been softened in cold water).

Beef strips on the flat rice noodle
Beef strips on the flat rice noodle

Serving: The next step involves pouring the simmering beef stock onto the noodles and beef strips, which will gently cook the beef slices.

The soup will cook the beef strips when poured onto it
The soup will cook the beef strips when poured onto it

Once that is done, it is ready to serve.

Vietnamese beef noodle soup ready to eat
Vietnamese beef noodle soup ready to eat

My wife prepared a plate with all the garnish to add to the Vietnamese beef noodle soup. I have to say that when I first went into the kitchen when my wife was preparing everything, the aromas that I experienced were exactly what I remember from the times when we ate this dish in Australia.

Basil, coriander, bean sprouts, lime, tomatoes and chilli
Garnish: Basil, coriander, bean sprouts, lime, tomatoes and chilli

I have to say that the noodles were excellent – so much so that I had a second bowl.

Now because today is my brother’s birthday, we decided to celebrate by serving our one remaining Christmas pudding – a luxury one from Asda.

Extra special Christmas pudding
Extra special Christmas pudding

This was microwaved and then served as per instructions. Then all that remained was to heat the brandy up and pour it onto the Christmas pudding.

Microwaved and ready to pour the flaming brandy
Microwaved and ready to pour the flaming brandy
Heating the brandy (with a spoon of castor sugar added)
Heating the brandy
Flaming pudding
Flaming pudding

After that is done, it is served with double cream which goes very well to balance with the sweetness of the pudding.

Nice double cream added to the pudding
Nice double cream added to the pudding

My only contribution to this meal was the purchase of fresh basil, coriander and the lime. I have to say that the noodles did not disappoint – it tastes just as I remember it from that many years ago.

Boon