Experimental Wednesdays: Vietnamese Beef and Carrot Stew

IMG_1549We love Vietnamese food. We live in the inner western suburbs of Melbourne where there are many Vietnamese restaurants and shops – some don’t even have English interpretations on the signs out front. Love it.

The boys rated this meal 8.5 – 8.75 out of 10

  • 1 kilogram, beef chuck steak
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 5 shallots
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2.5cm piece ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp curry powder (Vietnamese or Thai, if available)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Prepare the beef by trimming off excess fat. Cut into 2 inch cubes. Place in a bowl.

Peel the garlic and shallots and cut in half.

Cut off the dry leafy tops from the stalks of lemon grass. Peel away outer layers until you reach the moist and tender core. Crush the lemon grass stalks with the flat side of the knife, then chop crosswise.

Peel the ginger and roughly chop.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, shallots, lemon grass and ginger and process until finely chopped. Add these to the beef along with the fish sauce, cinnamon curry powder and sugar. Mix well.

Marinate beef for 30 minutes.

  • 1 large onion
  • 6 medium carrots
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 4 cups water, chicken or beef stock (approx)
  • 3-4 small Thai chilis, pricked with a fork
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves

Peel onion. Cut in half through the root and slice thinly. Peel carrots and cut them lengthwise in half, then cut the halves crosswise into 2 inch pieces.

Heat a wok or a large pot over high heat. Drizzle 2 T oil and continue heating until the oil is hot. Add half of the marinated beef and stir-fry until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to plate. Add another 2 T of oil and cook the rest of the meat.

Transfer the beef and juices to a plate. Reheat wok or pot and add the onion and stir-fry for a minute. Return all the beef and its juices to the wok. Add star anise, tomato paste, stock and the chili. Stir well to mix. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Season with sea salt. Add the carrots and continue cooking until the beef and carrots are tender.

The stew should be rich, but not too thick. Season to taste.

Remove the chilli (or remove them when you have reached the desired heat) and the star anise.

Add torn basil leaves and coriander leaves. Mix well. Serve hot with steamed rice, rice noodles or baguette.

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