Saturday, November 25, 2006

Beef soup with lemongrass

Vietnam was in the news yesterday. ANC was doing a comparison of the growth of Vietnam's economy (incredible) with the Philippines' (lame). So from Singapore we now head to Vietnam with this recipe which I got from "Vietnamese Favorites" by Wendy Hutton, part of the Periplus Mini Cookbooks series available at National Bookstore. We adapted it a little.


200g sukiyaki beef (or beef sirloin sliced paper thin)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp patis (fish sauce)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 spring onions, green and white parts separated, finely sliced
1 tsp oil
1 stalk lemongrass (thick bottom part only), outer layers discarded, inner part thinly sliced
2 thin slices ginger root
2 to 3 beef cubes dissolved in 6 cups hot water
2 tsp rice vinegar (can be substituted with 1 tsp rice wine and 1 tsp sukang puti)
1 tsp sugar
1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
coriander leaves to garnish (optional)

1. Marinate beef in 1 tsp garlic, 1-1/2 tsp patis and black pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat and stir-fry the remaining garlic, spring onion white bulbs, lemongrass and ginger for about 2 minutes until soft. Add the remaining fish sauce, beef stock, rice vinegar, sugar and tomato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Just before serving, bring the soup to a boil. Add the beef and simmer until just cooked, about 30 seconds. Remove and transfer to individual serving bowls. Garnish with spring onion greens and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Serves 3 - 4.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 to 10 minutes

This is a yummy recipe and incredibly easy to make! It's like Filipino nilaga with a Vietnamese kick, and the soup is very Vietnamese-y. Mike suggested that I serve it with additional patis on the side as an option for the Filipino palate. We ate this meal with steamed rice, but we imagine it would also be great as a pho, with bihon (rice vermicelli) added. If you want to eat it as a pho, add the bihon before the last step, then wait around 2 minutes before adding the beef.

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