800g-1kg beef, chuck, cross-cut blade etc, cut into 2cm chunks
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3cm piece ginger, grated
3cm piece turmeric, grated
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon palm or white sugar
vegetable oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 cinnamon quill
2 black cardamom (optional)
2 star anise
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 litre beef or chicken stock
3 lemongrass stalks, bruised and cut into 5cm pieces
3-4 chillies
4 makrut (kaffir) lime leaves
2 carrots, cut into 2cm chunks
2 potatoes, cut into 3cm chunks
handful of Vietnamese mint for garnishing
baguette to serve

The French influence in this beef casserole is readily apparent; take a classic pot au feu and flavour it with Vietnamese spices and herbs. Black cardamom is not essential but it does add a smoky, astringent element to the stew. This can also be a made-ahead dish and one that improves on sitting for a day or so before eating.


1.Put the beef into a bowl with the fish sauce, garlic, ginger, turmeric, five spice powder and sugar.
2.Marinate for a minimum of 1 hour, or overnight ideally.
3.Heat a little vegetable oil in a heavy pan and fry the beef until brown, in batches if necessary.
4.Set aside.
5.Add extra oil to the pan if necessary then add the onion, cinnamon, black cardamom and star anise and fry gently until fragrant.
6.Add the tomato paste, cook for a minute and add the stock, lemongrass, chilli, makrut leaves and beef to the pot.
7.Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for 21⁄2 hours, adding the carrot and potatoes in the final hour.
8.Serve with baguette, rice noodles or rice.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Ellen J Hemmings

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