Bún bò Huế
Bún bò Huế is one hell of a delicious noodle soup dish, it’s a meat lover’s perfect bowl as this amazing Central Vietnamese noodle soup is made from tender slices of beef shanks and pork hocks. The slow process of cooking the meats together with the spices creates this magical concoction where it yields a collagen rich, flavourful and spicy soup with multiple layers of flavour.
The name come from the city Huế located in Central Vietnam, this city was once the capital of Vietnam and known and still known as the Imperial City hence their cuisine is usually associated with the cooking style of the former royal court. In Huế and its surrounding cities this dish is simply known as Bún bò. Other part of the name means noodles and beef for Bún and Bò respectively.
If you loved Pho you will love this even better, it is rustic and more down to earth than its popular cousin. The dish give a perfect balance of spicy, sour, salty and sweet flavours where lemon grass is the predominant one. If you even make this the traditional way then put adventurous on the adjective list to define this dish as it contains some banana flower, shrimp paste and coagulated pork blood. For today we will be making it less traditional as we will be opting out of the coagulated pork blood, not that I don’t like them but it’s just an issue with where do I get one here in Auckland. Some might say that there are already supplies of pork blood in several Asian shops but I was never bothered coagulating them myself.
- 1 kg beef shanks
- 1 kg oxtail
- 1 kg pork hocks
- 500 g coagulated pork blood (optional)
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 dozen lemongrass stalks, white part only
- 3 large onions, halved
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp shrimp paste
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- dried thick round rice noodles
- 3 tbsp annatto seeds
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 small shallots, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- bean sprouts
- sliced red chillies
- lime or lemon
- thinly sliced white onions
- chopped spring onions
- In a pot add the meats (apart from the pork blood) and pour enough boiling water to submerge everything. Bring to a continuous boil for 10 minutes.
- Drain then rinse thoroughly under running water to remove any scum, you may have to clean your pot as well.
- Add the meat back together with the lemongrass, onions and chicken stock, top it up with water almost to the brim then bring it to a boil. Add the sugar, shrimp paste and fish sauce then simmer in low heat for 1½ hours.
- If you are using pork blood, cook it but boiling them slowly in water for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pork then continue to simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until the beef is really tender.
- Remove all the meat then set it aside, you can remove it from its bones or serve it as it is.
- In a pan add oil then sauté the annatto seeds until you have a very vibrant red orange oil. Remove the seeds then add the shallots and garlic, continue to sauté until fragrant. Add this to the soup then continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Cook noodles according to the packet instructions.
- Assemble your noodles with meat and pork blood if using in a bowl, add the bean sprouts and sliced red chillies, pour boiling broth on top. Top with thinly sliced onions, cilantro, spring onions then serve with lime or lemon wedges.