Vietnamese Noodle SoupI can’t believe it, but this is the first recipe I’m posting in 2010.

I made a noodle soup inspired by pho last summer, and I wasn’t wild about it. Adam loved it, but I thought the fish sauce flavor was a little too strong. The January/February 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine has another recipe for it that’s also extremely low calorie. If you follow the recipe exactly, it’s 334 calories for a huge, yummy bowl. I used a pound of beef sirloin instead of 3/4 of a pound, plus just a tiny amount of oil when the sirloin stuck to the saucepan (maybe half a teaspoon). I also added a little bit of salt to the soup because with the low sodium broth it was really bland. Not a lot, just a pinch or so. It’s definitely more of a spiced soup than a salty soup. So I’m calling mine 400 calories a bowl. I made it last night and thought it was great. Really fantastic for a dinner, and it’s perfect for everyone in the Reeve house getting over colds/flu.

I forgot to buy ginger, and I couldn’t find star anise pods. So I actually used a healthy amount of Five Spice Powder in place of both, and it was awesome. There’s still fish sauce in this recipe, but it isn’t nearly as overpowering to me.

I’m posting the original version of the recipe.

Vietnamese Noodle Soup (from Food Network Magazine)
Serves: 4 good-sized bowls

8 ounces rice noodles
12 ounces lean beef sirloin, fat trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, halved **I actually sliced my onion before cooking it, the original recipe says cook it first and then slice it.
1 4″ piece of ginger, unpeeled, halved
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
5 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
4 scallions
2 jalapeno peppers, preferably red and green **I could only find green, red is just for color.
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2-4 tablespoons fish sauce (I went with 2)
1 cup fresh bean sprouts

Prepare the rice noodles as the package suggests.

Meanwhile, place a large pot over high heat. Poke the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it, and season it with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until charred but still rare, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

sear meat

Add the onion and ginger to the pot and cook for 4 minutes.

cook onions

Add the broth, 3 cups of water, the star anise, cinnamon. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

add broth

Meanwhile, thinly slice the scallions and jalapenos, and tear the cilantro. Thinly slice the meat against the grain.

peppers, onions, sirloin

Add the fish sauce and boil for 5 minutes. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls (I just added noodles to the soup since I had leftovers for lunch). Top with the broth, beef, scallions, jalapenos, cilantro, and bean sprouts. **The meat cooks really fast in the broth.