Ideal for weekends or winter comfort food, this slowly braised Vietnamese stew heroes tender beef and a beautifully balanced sauce, that’s just begging to be mopped up with a crispy baguette. Soul-restoring stuff!
1.2kg (2.6 lb) chuck steak, cut into roughly 4cm cubes
vegetable oil for shallow frying
5 small Asian shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 slices of fresh ginger
3 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 small carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
1½ tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
coriander (cilantro) leaves to serve
baguette or steamed rice to serve
1 lemongrass stalk, tender part bruised and finely sliced
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice (try my homemade version here)
Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chuck steak and mix well. Allow to marinate for 5-10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish or dutch oven over high heat. Sear the beef (in batches if necessary) until you have good colour on the outside. Transfer the beef to large bowl. Pour over any leftover marinade from the bowl.
In the same pan over medium-high heat, add another tablespoon of oil. Add the shallots and garlic cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots have softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Then add the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick. Add the beef and any resting juices and toss to coat. Add the carrots and 3 cups of water and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer then cover and place in the oven for 2 hours or until the beef is fork tender. (alternatively, simmer on low on the stovetop for 2 hours). When the beef is cooked, taste the stew for seasoning and the fish sauce (add more or less according to taste).
Transfer the beef stew to serving plates and top with coriander. Serve with a chunk of baguette and/or steamed rice.