1 kilogram beef short ribs, shin on the bone or oxtail
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 whole head of garlic, halved
5 whole star anise
6cm piece ginger, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 tomato, chopped
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt
cooked rice noodle sticks, bean sprouts, sliced spring onions and red chilli, Vietnamese mint and coriander, lime wedges, Sriracha chilli sauce, fish sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Season the beef and cook until well browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and pour off all the oil in the saucepan but leave the sticky bits behind. Don’t wash the saucepan.
Add the meat and all the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and add enough cold water to cover everything really well.
Bring to the boil, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface.
Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 3 hours or until the meat is falling apart.
Strain the soup into a large bowl. Discard the vegetables and aromatics. Remove the meat and shred thinly.
To serve: Divide the noodles between bowls and ladle over the soup.
Serve with the accompaniments along with the limes, chilli sauce and fish sauce for seasoning.
Cook’s tip: If possible, the broth is best made one day ahead then cooled and chilled overnight. The next day, remove all the fat that will have set on top, leaving a beautiful rich broth. Reheat to serve.