I was supposed to write this post last month but something else kept coming up for immediate attention. However, one of my old friends from my uni years in America with whom I had lost contact ages ago managed to track me down via this blog. How cool is that! So here I am – this post is inspired by the people I spent fun and youthful times with many, many years ago.
The time I went to university in America there were not many dishes that I could actually cook – although I sort of knew what good food should taste like. Beef soup was one of the dishes I learned how to cook from a friend. During my time over there it seemed many (Thai) boys could cook much better than us girls – or at least they were more adventurous and could identify how to improvise as way back when, Asia groceries were not everywhere like today – we had to drive 30 odd miles to the city to shop Asian food ingredients. Anyway, I still cook beef soup the way one of the boys, Tom, taught me to (thank you, Tom).
You will need:
700 grams beef (cheaper cut will do but I use rump as it is quicker to cook)
2 or three stems of celery, chopped to 10 cm long
3-4 cloves of garlic, bruised
Coriander, whole with roots
4-5 pieces Star anise
1 teaspoon black pepper corns, crushed
1 carrot, peeled
1 litre beef stock
Dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons each of chopped spring onion, celery leaves and coriander leaves to garnish
A bunch of thin rice noodles or rice vermicelli (about 200-250 grams), soaked in warm water until soft
This recipe will be enough for 3-4 people for lunch.
Place whole coriander, celery sticks, black pepper corns, star anise, carrot and bruised garlic in the bottom of cast iron casserole and put beef (in chunks) on top of it. Pour stock over the beef and bring to the boil on medium high heat. Place the lid on tightly and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour for rump and longer for stew beef.
When the beef is soft but still holds the shape – lift and slice into smaller pieces (1-2 cm). Strain the cooking liquid through sieve to get rid of herbs, vegetables and scum. Put the beef back into the liquid -add soy sauce and dark soy sauce to taste, add more water if needed. Simmer further until the beef is very soft and tender.
Cook rice noodles in boiling water, drain and divide into bowls – rice vermicelli will cook faster and easier than the other. Ladle the beef soup over it, garnish with spring onion, coriander and celery leaves. Sprinkle with garlic flakes and chilli flakes if you like it hot. Enjoy!