Beef & Kale Noodle Soup

6 Mar

This is my version of a traditional Vietnamese soup of water spinach and beef, which I have adapted to what we grow. I’ve had this dish in my head for a while waiting for the Tuscan kale (cavolo nero) to get bigger and our Vietnamese mint to re-sprout in the polytunnel.

Serves 4 Prep 10 plus 30 minutes marinade cook 10 mins
* 350g beef steak
* 4 portions dried rice ribbon noodles
* 2 litres beef soup stock
* Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
* colander full of fresh green spinach leaves
* small handful of Vietnamese mint or laksa leaf

* 2 tbsp soy sauce
* 2 tbsp fish sauce
* 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
* 1 dried medium hot red chillis fresh sliced or dried ground
* 1 tsp sugar
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1cm piece ginger grated

Slice the beef very thinly and put it into a bowl with all the marinade ingredients, mix well and set aside for 30 minutes or longer to marinade. Soak the noodles for 5 minutes in water, or as directed on the packet, then drain and set aside. Put the soup stock in a pan and bring to a boil meanwhile wash the spinach and shred. Put a portion of noodles into the bottom of each serving bowl. Drop the onion, beef and spinach into the soup stock and cook for 1 minute then pour over the noddles, serve garnished with more herbs.

To make oriental beef soup stock
Heat 2 litres of water and add an onion, some beef bones or cheap cuts, a few slivers of ginger, some star anise, cloves and fish sauce, cover and boil for at least an hour, strain and it is ready to use. I make this in large batches and freeze it in portion sizes. If you don’t want to make you own stock you can find ready made beef stock cubes and pastes in oriental stores or use a stock cube and boil with the oriental flavourings until it has flavour.

Variations: use any greens you have available; watercress, tetragon (New Zealand spinach), mizuna, tatsoi or any leafy greens. Use coriander, Thai basil or mint instead of the laksa leaves.

This recipe was originally posted on on 6/3/2008.


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