This is an excellent, quick, beef noodle soup that never fails to please. It is adapted from Jennifer Brennan's Original Thai Cookbook. For the noodles, try to find packets of wet noodle sheets. These can usually be found in Asian groceries, refrigerated, in clear plastic bags. If you can't find these, you can substitute dried rice noodles, but soak them first. The fish sauce is the Thai Nam Pla sauce, or Tiparos, found in the Asian section of supermarkets, or in Asian groceries.
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1⁄2 lb round steak, fat removed, sliced into thin strips
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1⁄2 lb ground beef
- 2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally into inch-long pieces
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3 pints beef stock
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 12 ounces wet noodle sheets, cut into strips
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
- Fry beef strips in the oil until browned, using a large soup pot.
- Remove the browned strips, leaving the oil and juice in the pot.
- Fry the garlic until golden, stirring to keep from burning.
- Quickly add the ground beef, celery, and scallions--cook while stirring until the beef just browns.
- Add beef stock, black pepper, cinnamon, and fish sauce.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add noodles and return to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add bean sprouts.
- Top with beef strips and cilantro (this can also be done after putting the soup into the individual bowls).
- If desired, soak the red pepper flakes in the vinegar, and allow to be added to individual bowls.