This flavourful dish comes from Hue, in central Vietnam, and is known for its spicy, umami, lemongrass-driven broth, and thicker noodles than those used for pho.
- 1.8 kg pork bones
- 6 stalks lemongrass
- 2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Asian red shallots, minced
- 1 tbsp annatto seeds
- 675 g boneless beef shank
- 450 g boneless pork leg
- 5 L water
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 ½ tsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp fine shrimp sauce
- 4 tbsp (80 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 800 g rice vermicelli sticks, cooked until al dente, drained, then rinsed under cold water
- 5 spring onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 3 limes cut into wedges
- 10 sprigs mint
- Vietnamese coriander (or coriander)
- 2 Thai chillies, chopped
- Thai basil, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Place pork bones in a large stock pot. Cover with water and boil for a few minutes, then drain the water, remove the bones and rinse well under running water. This will help remove any impurities from the bones, resulting in a clearer stock. Set aside
- Trim the bottom of the lemongrass and peel off first few outer layers. Using a pestle or the side of a large knife, bruise the lemongrass by pressing down on the stalks. Cut the stalks into 3-inch (7.6 cm) pieces. Set aside.
- In the same large stock pot (making sure to clean it after boiling the pork bones), add the vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Add shallots and cook just until fragrant. Then stir in annatto and cook until the shallots turns yellow-orange.
- Turn heat to medium-high and add the beef shank and boneless pork leg, moving the shallots out of the way. Brown on both sides.
- Add the 5L of water to pot, then add the lemongrass and pork bones. Bring water to boil then reduce heat and simmer.
- Add fish sauce, sugar and shrimp sauce to the broth. Simmer for about an hour or until meat is tender. Using a ladle, remove any foam that rises to top.
- When the meat is tender, remove using tongs or a slotted spoon, place in colander and rinse under cold water. Leave stock to continue simmering. Remove any excess fat from meat, then cut into thin, bite-sized strips. Set aside.
- Set out individual serving bowls for the soup. Reheat the noodles by bringing a pot of water to a vigorous boil. Place noodles in a mesh sieve or strainer with a handle and dunk into boiling water. Leave there for 10 seconds, then pull up, letting excess water drain. Put a generous amount of the noodles into each serving bowl. You may have to reheat the noodles in batches.
- To make the chilli oil, add vegetable oil, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add sugar and fish sauce, and stir to combine.
- Ladle broth into serving bowls over noodles. Top with spring onions, a generous spoonful of chilli oil and some of the sliced meat.
- Serve with garnishes.