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Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup


This unusual soup is assembled in individual bowls before serving.

8 ounces thick rice noodles or vermicelli
5 cups chicken broth (regular is best but you can use pareve if you are stuck)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
2 pods star anise (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound beef, sliced into strips (ask your butcher for a cut that is thin and not too tough)
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups bean sprouts
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 scallions, sliced
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts

Prepare rice noodles or vermicelli according to package directions. In a large stock pot, combine chicken broth, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, star anise (if using), salt, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and star anise pods.
In the meantime, sauté meat in oil over a medium-high heat until well browned.
To serve:
Divide noodles among serving bowls (about 8). Do the same with the bean sprouts and the beef. Top with the broth, then add the jalapeno, basil ,cilantro and peanuts.