Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

This easy recipe will satiate your cravings for a spicy beef noodle soup without having to spend hours cooking.  Certainly, if you have the time, there’s no substitute for making soup stock from scratch.  With our busy lives today, often we just need to prepare a quick meal to feed our hungry family and friends.  This recipe will have you enjoying this spicy, savory soup in no time.

Shrimp paste is often added to this soup and the paste makes the broth quite salty.  If you opt not to serve shrimp paste, you may want to add salt or more fish sauce to the broth.  At my house, we add fish sauce to our bowls individually depending on one’s preference rather than salting the entire soup pot.

Watch the video below for instructions.


6 cups cooked rice vermicelli
1 stalk lemongrass (2 Tbsp frozen minced or paste)
2 green scallions
1/2 small onion
6 sprigs cilantro
1/2 shallot (2 Tbsp diced)
2 ripe tomatoes (my personal twist, this is optional)
1 lb flap meat or flank steak
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp + 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp Oriental mixed chili (Bun Bo Hue) seasoning
2-15 oz cans chicken broth
3 3/4 cups water


Cook rice vermicelli and set aside.

Mince lemongrass by hand or use a food processor.  Reserve a 6-inch section of stalk for simmering in broth.

Dice just tops of green scallions.  Cut onion into thin slices.  Coarsely chop cilantro.  Combine scallions, onions and cilantro together and set aside in a small bowl.

Dice shallot and set aside in small bowl.

Cut tomatoes into wedges, approximately 8 wedges per tomato.  Set aside on a plate.

Cut beef into thin strips and place in medium bowl.  To marinate, add black pepper, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemongrass, 1 Tbsp shallots, 1 Tbsp fish sauce and mix well.  Allow to marinate while continuing to next steps.

In a medium saucepan, add 2 cans of chicken broth.  Use broth can and add 2 cans of water.  Take lemongrass stalk set aside earlier, cut in half and add to broth.  Stir in 2 Tbsp fish sauce.  Cover and allow broth to slowly come to a boil over medium heat.

Heat a wok over high heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Add remaining shallots and stir fry quickly for 5 seconds.  Add 1 tsp minced garlic and remaining lemongrass and stir fry for 5 seconds.  Add the chili mix and stir fry for another 10-15 seconds.  Put seasoning mix in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the same wok over high heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Add marinated beef and stir fry quickly for a 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.  The meat should still be pink.

The broth should be boiling at this point.  Add tomatoes to the broth and cook for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften.  Add stir-fried beef.  Stir in the seasoning mix.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Ladle soup over rice noodles.  Garnish with onion and cilantro mix prepared earlier.  Serve with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and red chilis.  Optionally serve with shrimp paste.  Enjoy!

Yields: 4 servings

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2 Responses to Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

  1. Kathy November 10, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Hi! Just curious; wouldn’t using beef broth instead of the chicken make more sense?

    • Trang November 10, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      Hi Kathy,

      It does! Funny thing is I’ve always used chicken broth for this shortcut recipe. I find most canned beef broths to be a bit too strong. Please feel free to use beef broth if you like it. Good Luck!

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