The everyday noodle soup

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This noodle soup is one of my ultimate comfort food. Really.

It all started from my childhood when my parents used to make a similar dish in the weekend for us. That was the simplest kind of noodle soup you could think of – an elegant version of instant noodle. In fact, we did use instant noodle at times but threw away the MSG loaded seasoning. For the broth, water or leftover stock was used. But the other ingredients were normally fresh. Thinly slices of beef from a trusted butcher and a bunch of Asian greens from the morning market were the must have. And just with those simple ingredients, my mom cooked up one of the most nourishing dishes I have known.

The key to this noodle dish is simplicity. The Vietnamese tend to like clear and subtle taste. While greasy and spicy food can be enjoyed occasionally, we all turn back to simple dishes for our daily meals. That preference for food can be reflected here. What we have is noodle in clear both, some meat and lots of green vegetables. You can think of the dish as the homemade simple alterative for pho, but in reality, most noodle shops in Hanoi would sell this, too.

I always use a typical Asian vegetable for the dish. If I am not mistaken, it is called Chopsuy Green or Vegetable Chrysanthemum in English. The leaves have a lovely aroma which pairs very well with meat. You should come across them when eating steam boat in Chinese restaurant. However, any other type of Asian greens can do. I sometimes even use broccoli quite happily.

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As for the beef, cooking it lightly in the broth just before serving helps to flavour the soup and also prevent the meat from being overcooked.

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Noodle Soup with Beef and Vegetable Chrysanthemum

I never really estimate the amount of ingredients when cooking this dish. So please use your judgement.

Ingredients (for about 3-4 portions)
Noodles of your choice, choose enough for 3- 4 portions. 100g/person is the standard size
4 cups water or leftover broth
200g beef fillet, thinly sliced across the grain
1 tsp each finely chopped garlic and ginger
1 tbsp good quality fish sauce
1 bunch of Vegetable Chrysanthemum or other vegetables of your choice
Seasoning, to taste

Marinade the beef with garlic, ginger and fish sauce.

Pick leaves from Vegetable Chrysanthemum. You should have about 200g left.

Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Divide among serving bowls. Keep warm.

Bring stock to boil. Blanch the veg until just cooked. Take out and divide among serving bowl.

Return the stock to boiling point again. Add the beef and let the stock simmer until the beef is just cooked (this takes only 1 min). Quickly check seasoning. Ladle the hot broth and beef over the noodle and veg. Add some freshly cracked pepper. Serve immediately with some chilli sauce and lime juice if desired.
I am bringing this dish to Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast. Ruth is celebrating 6 months of this event this week, so head over to her blog on Friday for fabulous pasta entries!

30 Responses to The everyday noodle soup

  1. Kelly Mahoney says:

    Looks great — I like that it’s arranged so it looks quite a bit more attractive.

  2. Johanna says:

    Anh – I have been wanting a good noodle soup for a while and have been thinking I might make one tonight, but mine wont look as neat as yours – I just wish it was easier to get a vegetarian noodle soup in Vietnamese restaurants!

  3. sher says:

    My goodness! That looks so wonderful! I love soup like that—the beautiful broth and the contrast of the other ingredients is perfect. Sigh! I would eat that every day too! :):)

  4. joey says:

    These are the types of meals that really hit the spot! It’s starting to rain here so maybe I’ll make something like this over the weekend :)

  5. Lia says:

    noodles always make me mouthwatering, serve with hot chili sauce !

  6. Nora B. says:

    Hi Anh, that looks so yummy, sounds like comfort food to me. And the recipe looks simple enough for me to recreate at home.

  7. KJ says:

    Your soup looks delicious. I love simple clean flavours like these.

  8. Cris says:

    Yummy… perfect for our chilly nights!

  9. Asha says:

    What a perfectly balanced meal! YUM! Give me soup any time!!:)

  10. Callipygia says:

    I love noodle soup too & definitely have a weakness for ramen. The flavor of asian greens is the best- I’ve had the chrysanthemum at chinese restaurants I believe, very different flavor.

  11. Mandira says:

    Anh- the noodle soup looks great and healthy too! I love soups like these!

  12. Mishmash ! says:

    Two days back I wrote about my comfort food and here you re writing about your ultimate comfort food :))))Hugs :)

  13. veron says:

    Anh, I love noodle soup any time of the day especially for breakfast! Yours looks so good!

  14. tigerfish says:

    Yes, you spoke my heart – I would like to have such noodle soup everyday. :)

  15. Lydia says:

    That looks delicious, even to someone who didn’t grow up in a Vietnamese tradition (me!). I love the light, clear soups, with lots of vegetables tossed in.

  16. Cynthia says:

    Anh, these flavourful noodle soups are always great. I never seem to be able to replicate the flavour :(

  17. Wendy says:

    Yum! I eat a noodle soup almost every week. It’s usually chicken based (blogged about this) or vegetable based though. Look forward to trying out your recipe for a change next time. :)

  18. Lucy says:

    Anh, how would you describe the taste of the Chrysanthemum leaves? I know that you often substitute broccoli for them, but I’ve never knowingly tasted them and am intrigued!

  19. Anh says:

    Kelly, thank you.

  20. Sandeepa says:

    The Vietnamese Noodle soup is a famous soup isn’t it ? Shall surely try now that there is a recipe straight from the country

  21. Sig says:

    Anh, I love noodle soups, though some restaurants really mess it up… Now I have a tried and tested recipe, will be trying it soon…

  22. Ruth Daniels says:

    What a fabulous dish to bring to Presto Pasta Night’s big six month party. Thanks for coming.

  23. Susan says:

    There is something undeniably comforting about a bowl of noodles. I actually haven’t made noodles in quite some time, so thanks for inspiring me!

  24. Kate says:

    oh i love noodle soup.Comfort indeed. When i cant think of anything i know this is the only thing that’ll work. Lovely presentation.

  25. Amy says:

    Beef noodle soup is one of my favorite comfort foods too! Nothing like slurping noodles in warm broth on a cold winter day. I use that same hot sauce in the background! :)

  26. Anh says:

    Sandeepa, this is a very simple noodle, sort of homemade. the famous Vietnamese noodle (pho) is more complicated… :)

  27. Dharm says:

    Oh YummmmmmmmY

  28. Truffle says:

    This is my idea of comfort food too! I love these sorts of posts that remind me how much I love the simple things.

  29. Sophie says:

    This looks really tasty.

  30. Dhi says:

    It’s yummie too in hot pot or stir fried. Hey, that bottled chilies looks familiar…. from China? I love those!!!

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