Friday, 4 July 2014

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup - The Shortcut Way

Pin It

My family loves to eat Vietnamese beef noodles.  In fact, we are big fans of Vietnamese food.  Read about our two trips to HCM and the delicious food we had.  

A weekend in HCM Part 1

A weekend in HCM Part 2

If you enjoy pho, it makes sense to make a big batch of the soup stock - it is much cheaper and you can also freeze the extras.  The only catch is - there's really quite a bit of work involved; buying a big batch of soup bones and all the other ingredients, cleaning them, frying the spices, boiling them, skimming and finally straining the stock, and all those washing up.  

Sometimes I rolled up my sleeves and get down to work.  Other times, like a couple of months ago when the cravings for Vietnamese beef noodle soup hit me hard, I decided to cheat, by using stock cubes.  Someone gave me a packet of Pho stock cubes, and all I added was a stick of cinnamon, 2 star anise and 1 chopped onion to give additional flavour to the soup.

If you can't find any Pho beef cubes, then just use the normal Knorr brand of beef cubes.  In this case, you will need to add more ingredients to make the taste as similar as the Pho cubes as possible. 

This is the Pho stock cube that I used.

I was very tempted to add some radish to it - but that would have made it a Chinese version of beef noodle soup instead of Vietnamese. 

The second shortcut is to cook the beef tendon and tripe using pressure cooker.  Otherwise it would take you 3 hours to cook those parts on a gas stove until the texture becomes tender.

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup - The Shortcut Way
Serves 4

For the stock:
  • 2 pieces of Pho beef cubes
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 medium size onion, diced
  • 10g rock sugar

For the meat:
  • 200g uncooked beef tripe
  • 200g uncooked beef tendon
  • 12 beef balls
  • 200g beef tenderloin
  • 200g beef brisket

For the toppings
  • 2 bundles of dried rice noodles
  • Beansprouts
  • Chopped chinese parsley
  • Chopped fresh mint
  • Chopped fresh thai basil
  • 1 lime, sliced

1.  Slice the tendon and tripe to about 2-3 inches in length and 1 cm in width.  Put into the pressure cooker and add enough water to cover the meat.  Cook it for 15min and leave on natural release. 

2. Freeze the tenderloin for about 2 hours until semi frozen.  Slice it paper-thin across the grain, and arrange neatly in a plate and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.  

Wafer-thin slices of tenderloin. 

3. Add 1.5 litre of water to a pot, toss in the cinnamon stick, star anise and chopped onion.  Bring to a boil, and in the beef tendon to simmer for 30min to an hour until the texture is soft.  Add in the beef tripe, brisket and beef balls and continue to simmer for 10min.  Adjust the taste of the soup - it should be slightly on the salty side, as it will be diluted when we add the noodles and beansprouts to it later.

4. Blanched the dried rice noodles in hot boiling water and apportion into 4 serving bowls.  Top with some beansprouts and pour the boiling soup and the various meat cuts over the beansprouts to cook it.  Garnish generously with the chopped parsley, mint and thai basil, and serve with a wedge of lime and the sliced tenderloin.  

The best way to eat the tenderloin, without overcooking it, is to dip it in the hot soup for a minute.  The meat should still be slightly pink.  

I actually used rice vermicelli for this round. 
It is a nice alternative, much lighter than rice noodles.


  1. Hi Esther! I have never made this but i love eating this once in awhile, yours look delicious!

  2. Hi Esther! Any shortcust to a favorite dish is always welcome!


Feel free to leave your comments here. If you are not a blogger, just select profile and choose "Name/URL", fill in your name and leave the URL blank. Thanks and hope you enjoy the postings here, or better still, get to try some new recipes from here. Cheers!