Hanoi Beef Stock
Ingredients: 2-3lb (1-1.5kg) beef rib bones
1lb (450g) boned beef shin
1 large onion, unpeeled and halved
2 unpeeled shallots, quartered
1oz (28g) ginger, unpeeled
4 whole star anise
2in stick of cinnamon
2 parsnips cut in chunks
1tsp sea salt to taste
3tbs fish sauce (nam pla)
Preparation: Place meat and bones in a big stock pot, add water to cover and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes, drain and rinse meat and bones and return to clean pot. Add 3 pints (about 1.7 litres) of water, bring to boil and skim off any foam on surface. Reduce heat and simmer until foam stops rising. Add 2 more pints (about 1 litre) water and simmer. Put onion, shallots and ginger under a grill and cook until aroma starts rising (about 10 minutes). Tie in muslin with spices. Add muslin packet, parsnips and salt to pot and simmer for 1 hour. Remove meat and continue to simmer for 1-2 hours, topping up with water if necessary. When cooked, strain, add fish sauce and eat on its own, or use it in Hanoi beef and noodle soup.
To make this, buy wide dried rice noodles (banh pho), sold in oriental markets. Drop these into boiling water, or the hot beef stock, remove and divide into bowls. Add chopped meat from stock-making, add more noodles and top with paper-thin slices of raw beef sirloin. Pour simmering broth over. Garnish with chopped spring onion and fresh coriander (essential) and accompany with raw beansprouts, sliced raw red chilli, fresh lime wedges, fresh mint and Asian or Italian basil.
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