Vietnamese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

By Helen Le Published: September 7, 2021

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs 20 mins
  • Ready In: 3 hrs 40 mins

  • Yield: 4-6 Servings

Bún bò Huế, a spicy Vietnamese pork and beef noodle soup, holds a special place in my heart as my ultimate favorite noodle soup in the world. Having recently returned to Vietnam and indulging in it more frequently, I am excited to share with you my latest and improved recipe.

  • To make the Sate, combine 3 tbsp of chili flakes with 3 tbsp of water, 2 tbsp of fish sauce, and 2 tbsp of sugar in a small bowl. Stir well.
  • For the sate sauce, heat a quarter cup of vegetable oil in a pan, then add a tbsp of annatto seeds. Wait for 30 seconds to release the color. Strain to discard the seeds and return the oil back to the pan. Add 4 tbsp of minced lemongrass, 2 tbsp of minced shallots, a tbsp of minced garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Lower the heat and add the chili mix. Simmer and stir for two minutes until thickened.
  • For the pickled shallots and carrots, dice the carrots, peel the shallots, and cut them in half or quarters. In a saucepan, combine 120g of sugar, 200 ml of vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve, turn off the heat, and let it cool.
  • Once the brine has completely cooled down, combine it with the shallots and carrots. Add some chopped red and green chilies and let the vegetables soak in the brine for half an hour.
  • For the crab meatballs, heat 4 tbsp of annatto oil in a pan. Sauté the minced garlic and shallot until fragrant, then let it cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the crab meat and pork paste. Add pepper, stock powder, a tbsp of fried shallots and garlic, and 3 tbsp of annatto oil. Mix well to combine, using the back of a spoon to press the paste to the side of the bowl. Keep doing this for 5-10 minutes, then chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat this process two to three times until the mixture becomes firm. Chill the mixture until the broth is almost done.
  • For the broth, parboil the bones in a pot of water for about 5 minutes with some salt and vinegar. When the impurities rise to the top, drain the pot and rinse the bones under running water. This helps reduce the smell and keep the broth clear.
  • In a separate pot, parboil the pork hock for about 3 to 5 minutes with some salt and vinegar, then rinse well. Using a separate pot will preserve the original flavor of the pork meat.
  • Combine the beef bones and pork hock in a large pot filled with about five liters of water. Add one peeled onion to enhance the flavor of the broth. Add four stalks of bruised lemongrass, a piece of rock sugar, and 2 tbsp of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 60 to 90 minutes, skimming occasionally.
  • After about 45 minutes, when the pork hock is tender, remove it and transfer to an ice water bowl. The beef shank should also be cooked but not yet tender, so remove it as well. Continue simmering the broth for about one to two more hours.
  • Dissolve 1 tbsp of Vietnamese shrimp paste in 200 ml of room temperature water. Stir well until dissolved and let it sit for 30 minutes to settle. Then extract the clear broth on top and add it to the soup pot.
  • Shape the prepared crab and pork paste mixture into equal-sized balls using two spoons and add them to the broth.
  • For the beef shank that is not yet tender, let it cool and thinly slice. Combine it in a pan with 2 tbsp of the sate sauce. Stir well, then add 1/4 cup of the broth and continue to simmer for 15 minutes until tender and flavorful.
  • Bruise four more stalks of lemongrass and add them to the soup pot at this stage to infuse the broth with a fresh lemongrass aroma. Add more sate sauce to the broth and season to taste with stock powder and fish sauce.
  • Arrange the round rice vermicelli noodles in bowls. Top with the crab meatballs, beef shank, a piece of pork hock, and ladle the fragrant and delicious broth over them. Sprinkle with chopped onion and cilantro for garnish.

Vietnamese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup – Watch how to make it on Youtube