Vietnamese soup simmeringBÚN BÒ HUE

serves 2


Beef stock: can use cubes or condensed but best to use pork/beef bones, oxtail, chopped into chunks, simmered  down for 2-3 hours and skimmed of the majority of fat, you need about 3 pints stock.

Ideally, should also have Vietnamese staple, (pungent) shrimp paste, but I’ve substituted for slightly more available oyster sauce.
500g beef, e.g. bavette (from between ribs) steak

Rice noodles

1 cinnamon stick

3 garlic cloves

2 star anise

A thumb sized chunk of ginger

3 red chillies

2 sticks lemongrass

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

Half red onion

Handful of holy basil

1 lime


Place cinnamon stick and star anise in large saucepan

Chop finely the garlic, the ginger, 2 of the chillies (remove seeds and rinse chillies under cold tap before chopping to reduce heat), slice the red onion, peel the outer skin of lemongrass stalks and finely chop the whiter ends. Add all of this to a tbsp of rapeseed oil in the sauce pan. Let it sizzle for 30secs then add stock. Add majority of torn holy basil leaves, leave a handful for garnish.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

7 minutes in, taste, add soy sauce and oyster sauce at discretion, remove cinnamon stick and star anise. Add rice noodles.

Slice the beef into thin strips, about two inches long and no thicker than a quarter of an inch, thinner if possible.

Place the uncooked beef into serving bowls.

Ladle hot soup into these bowls, divide the noodles into both.

Provide a side dish with optional garnish of half lime, bean sprouts, some finely chopped red chilli and holy basil leaves