Spicy soup from Vietnam


We resume the reader recipe series with a new category, soups, stocks and broths, and these two recipes from Shireen Davies of Glasgow. "I was born and brought up in Singapore," she writes, "and am used to a large variety of South-east Asian food. This Vietnamese soup is one of the best I have tried." She adapted it from The Foods of Vietnam by Nicole Routhier, published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang. Ms Davies will receive a copy of The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan (Macmillan, £20).

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

4 cloves

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.

Next week: more soups. Recipes should be sent to: Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Those whose recipes we print will receive a copy of Mrs Hazan's wonderful book.

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