Hue Noodle Soup

1.5 lbs beef (7-bone steak or beef chuck pot roast boneless)
3 c low-salt chicken broth
3 c water
1 T minced lemon grass

2 t vegetable oil
1 onion thinly sliced, divided use
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T sambal oelek
1 1/2 t paprika
3 T fish sauce
2 T sugar (optional)
1 T red shrimp paste with soy bean oil
1/2 t salt
1 c thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1 package traditional Japanese tofu cut into 1/2" squares

1/2 package fresh rice noodles (1 lb) or 8.8 oz thin dried rice noodles
2 green onions, chopped
Thai basil leaves
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges

Place beef and lemon grass in a large pot. Add broth and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 the sliced onion and the garlic; saute for 1 minute. Add sambal oelek and paprika; saute for 1 minute. Add this mixture to the soup. Mix in the fish sauce, sugar, shrimp paste and salt. Simmer until the beef is tender, about 1 hour. Remove the beef from the soup and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Add the Napa cabbage, the tofu and the beef to the soup and simmer until the cabbage is cooked.

Prepare the fresh rice noodles by soaking them in warm water and separating the layers. Cut them into shorter lengths. Drop into a pot of boiling water and simmer for 2 minutes. If you are using dried noodles, cook them according to the package instructions.

Divide noodles between 4 bowls. Bring soup to a boil; ladle over the noodles. Serve with remaining sliced onion, green onions, cilantro, Thai basil leaves, extra sambal oelek and lime wedges.

Makes 4 servings.


Often I add the noodles directly to the soup - especially the fresh ones. However, they do get mushy if they sit in the fridge - so if you are planning for leftovers definitely serve the noodles on the side.

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