Morning Hue Soup
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 stalks lemongrass (white part only), coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) roasted chili paste (optional see note)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sambal oelek
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) paprika
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) fish sauce (nuoc mam)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) brown sugar or palm sugar
- 8 cups (2 litres) chicken broth
- 2 slices ham hock, without the rind (optional)
- 1/2 lb (250 g) round Asian noodles, cooked (or Udon noodles)
- 1/2 lb (225 g) sliced beef fondue, halved
- Crab meat, to taste (optional)
- Bean sprouts
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Thai basil leaves
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- Roasted chili paste (optional)
- In a large saucepan, brown the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger in the oil. Add the chili paste, sambal oelek, and paprika and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and brown sugar and scrape the bottom of the pan.
- Add the broth and meat and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the meat falls off the bone. Strain the broth through a sieve. Remove the bones and put the meat back into the broth.
- Divide the noodles among four to six bowls. Top with the beef and crab meat. Pour the broth and garnish with bean sprouts and herbs. Serve with lime wedges and chili paste.
For the broth, cooking 30 minutes will suffice if you do not intend to eat the pork meat.
You will find the Vietnamese roasted chili paste in Asian grocery stores.