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Heres a pretty simple Vietnamese beef soup recipe in contrast to the recipe for Hanoi Beef Soup. It doesnt call for hot chilies, but you can slice a couple into thin rounds and toss em in. Thats kosher (if that term can apply...) with any Vietnamese soup. Add em either when the soup is brought to its final boil or just after its removed from the heat. If you are using fresh lemon grass, simply remove the outer leaves and upper two-thirds of the stalk, then chop. If you are using dried, it must be soaked for 2 hours, then drained and chopped fine. Sprinkle the black pepper, 1 teaspoon of the fish sauce, and chopped garlic over the meat; mix well and allow the meat to absorb the flavors for a few minutes. Heat the oil and fry the shallots over a high flame. Add the lemon grass and fry for about 1 minute, then add the meat. Cook until all traces of redness are gone. Add the water, bring to a boil, and add the beef bouillon cubes, remaining 1 teaspoon fish sauce, and salt. Immediately before serving, bring the soup to a boil. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped coriander and scallion. From "The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam", Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barrons, 1979. Posted by Stephen Ceideburg August 28 1990. File ftp://ftp.idiscover.co.uk/pub/food/mealmaster/recipes/cberg2.zip
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