Once Again French Influence
Lemongrass, Star Anise, Cayenne are Key Elements
The Vietnamese were not great Beef eaters before the arrival of the French colonists. Later they developed a number of distinctive ways of using Beef, including the Beef soup Pho and dishes like this one.
Beef Stew Vietnamese Style
2 medium Onions
4 Garlic cloves
10 to 12 medium Shallots or pickling Onions
1 stalk fresh Lemongrass
7 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3 pounds Beef Stew Meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
8 tablespoons Yellow Bean Paste
½ to 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
4 whole Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick, about 1 inch long
½ teaspoon whole Black Peppercorns
2 tablespoons Sugar
First peel and finely chop Onions and Garlic.
Peel shallots. Leave whole..
Cut the Lemongrass into 2-inch sections, beginning at the bottom and using about six inches of the bottoms. Discard the tops. Crush the Lemongrass sections with a mallet or other heavy object.
Put a wok or nonstick frying pan over medium high fire and when the pan is hot, put in 3 tablespoons of the Oil, then Onions, Garlic, Shallots. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
Add the Lemongrass and continue to stir-fry until the Onions are lightly browned. Remove the pan from the fire. Remove the Shallots and set them aside.
Take another large wok or nonstick pan and put over high fire. When it is hot, put in the other 4 tablespoons Oil.
When the Oil is hot, put in the Beef cubes, putting as many cubes in as it will hold. Keep them in a single layer and brown them. Continue until all the Beef cubes are nicely browned. Remove the browned cubes with a slotted spoon and put them into the original wok or pan. Adda quart of water, as well as the Mixture of Onions, Garlic and Lemongrass.
Add the Yellow Bean Paste.
Add Mixture No. 2. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low fire for 1½ hours.
Add the reserved Shallots, cover and simmer over low fire another 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened Skim off any fat from the top and serve with Rice or French Bread. Serves 4 to 6.