Hanoi Beef and Noodle Soup
1.5 kilograms stewing beef
2.5 cm fresh root ginger, peeled
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 piece cinnamom stick
fish sauce, to taste juice of 1 lime
150 grams fillet steak
450 grams fresh flat rice noodles
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh coriander leaves and lime wedges, to garnish
For the accompaniments
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
1/2 cup beansprouts
2 red chillies, seeded and sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1. Cut the onion in half.
2. Grill under a high heat, cut side up, until the exposed sides are caramelized and deep brown.
3. Cut the stewing beef into large chunks and then place in a large saucepan or stock pot. Add the caramelized onion with the ginger, star anise, bay leaf, cloves, fennel seeds and cinnamon stick.
4. Add 12 cups water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2-3 hours, skimming off the fat and scum from time to time.
5. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the stock, when cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces. Strain the stock and return to the pan together with the meat.
6. Bring back to the boil and season with the fish sauce, lime
juice, salt and pepper to taste. Slice the fillet steak very thinly and then chill until required. Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water until just tender. Drain and divide among individual serving bowls.
7. Arrange the thinly sliced steak over the noodles, pour the hot stock on top and garnish with coriander and lime wedge. Serve, offering the accompaniments in separate bowls.