This delicious and comforting soup is incredibly simple to make and full of mouthwateringly complex flavours. You can make it in a saucepan in a couple of hours, as we did here, or with a slow cooker, which can be left all day to cook.

Following this method, it’s best to use braising steak, as the collagen in it breaks down nicely over the 2 hour cooking period, leaving the beef melt-in-the-mouth tender.

This stew tastes even better the next day….

Serves 2.

Soup Ingredients:

500 grams of braising steak, cubed

1 cinnamon stick

2 cloves of garlic, well bruised

2 stalks of celery, chopped into large pieces

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons dark sweet soya sauce

5 tablespoons light soya sauce

2 star anise

1.5 tablespoons sugar

1 litre of water

handful of bean sprouts

8 leaves of little gem lettuce (4 per bowl)

1 or 2 sliced green onions, chopped, to garnish

coriander to garnish

fried garlic in oil

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

about 1 tablespoon of smashed red chillies

about 1 tablespoon of white vinegar


1. Cut the beef into large cubes (about 1 inch)

2. Add these along with everything except for the bean sprouts, lettuce and the green onions, to a saucepan.

3. Bring to a simmer, and simmer very gently for at least 2 hours, until the beef is very tender.

4. Whilst the soup is cooking, make the dipping sauce by smashing some red chillies to a paste and mixing them with a equal quantity of white vinegar. Set aside.

5. Once the soup is done, place the lettuce leaves in each of the bowls. Place half the bean sprouts in each bowl.

6. Spoon the soup over, distributing the beef evenly into each bowl.

7. Sprinkle each bowl with the chopped spring onions and the coriander.

8. Place a teaspoon of fried garlic in oil over the top of each bowl, as well as a pinch of white pepper.

9. Serve with rice and a small dish of fresh chilli paste and vinegar dipping sauce, to dip the beef in.

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