One night at a regular potluck gathering, my friend had a pot of fork tender beef stew sitting on the table. In my memory, that very first bite basically knocked me out with a big punch of exotic flavors. It was so good!
My friend was very kind to share his secret - Vietnamese beef stew seasoning from local Asian grocery store. Soon enough, I got a few packs of my own -
I think it doesn't have to be the exact same brand. All other generic Vietnamese beef stew mix should work almost the same.
Ingredients (for a big pot)?
1/2 to 2/3 pack of Vietnamese stew beef spices
1.5 lbs of beef brisket
1/2 large onion
8 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons of ketchup'
2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
Some unsalted chicken stock or beef stock
Some corn starch
Some olive oil
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Since it was my first time using the seasoning pack, I carefully followed the instruction behind the package with a little twist of mine. Let's see how my first Vietnamese style beef stew was made.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in cubed brisket,
Cook till the dirty brown bits start to float to the surface, turn off the heat, drain well, and set the beef aside.
Grab another big pot or skillet, toss in peeled garlic cloves and chopped onion,
Sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Cook till the garlic turns slightly brown but not burned,
Add in ketchup and seasoning mix, stir well and cook till the aroma comes out.
A well shielded deep pot is highly recommended since some burning bits might start flying out once you pour in the ketchup. Trust me, there is still a small burned red spot under my right eye and it's been almost 3 weeks!!
Maybe next time I should cook Captain America style with spatula on one hand and shield on the other.
After dodging the flying seasoning bits, carefully mix in beef cubes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in peeled and cubed carrots, combine well and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
Gradually pour in luck warm chicken or beef stock till all the ingredients are submerge under the liquid,
Bring to a boil and turn to medium low heat tokeep it simmering,
Season with some granulated sugar.
Instruction calls for some msg, but I don't use msg in my cooking so didn't even bother,
At first I couldn't wait and tasted it after simmering for one hour only,
Man...the meat was tough as a rubber band.
Luckily, after 3 more hours of cooking, the beef cubes have transformed into another fork tender goodies. You'll know its ready when all the liquid has been reduced by at least half.
Once ready to serve, mix some corn starch with water.
Gently pour in the mixture while stirring the beef stew at the same time,
This will yield a thick and gooey gravy, otherwise you can try to start with even more stock in the beginning and prepare it beef soup style!
You can serve it over rice, noodles, or even pasta,
I believe almost any kind of stew dish tastes even better overnight.
Here's how I enjoy it the next day:
Cook some Asian noodles -
Drain well and mix in with the beef stew plus one teaspoon of Sichuan chili paste -
Next time I'll try eating it with rice and a sunny side up egg, make it an even heartier dish!
Cindy's Rating: 7