Thai beef noodle soup

    50 min

    Bursting with flavour, this main-course beef soup is packed with vegetables and noodles. If you can't get fresh lime leaves easily, they are available in jars at some supermarkets. You can eat the noodles, beef and vegetables with chopsticks, then enjoy the soup with a spoon.

    26 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 15g (½ oz) dried shiitake mushrooms
    • 100ml (3½ fl oz) boiling water
    • 1 litre (1¾ pints) beef stock
    • 4 fresh lime leaves, torn
    • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 3 pieces
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and chopped
    • 2.5cm (1 in) piece fresh root ginger, grated
    • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 small leek
    • 2 celery sticks
    • 100g (3½ oz) sugarsnap peas
    • 1 Chinese leaf cabbage
    • 340g (12 oz) lean rump steak, trimmed of fat
    • 100ml (3½ fl oz) low-fat coconut milk
    • 3 sheets dried medium Chinese egg noodles, about 260g (9 oz) in total
    • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
    • 4 tsp fish sauce, or to taste

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:50min 

    1. Put the mushrooms into a small bowl, add the boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, pour the stock into a large saucepan and add the lime leaves, lemongrass, garlic, chilli and ginger. Separate the coriander leaves from the stalks and set the leaves aside. Chop the stalks and add them to the stock. Cover the pan and bring the stock just to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Let the stock simmer gently for 10 minutes while you prepare the vegetables and beef.
    3. Drain the mushrooms, pouring the soaking liquid into the simmering stock. Cut each mushroom in half lengthways. Chop the carrot, leek and celery into fine strips about 5 cm (2 in) long. Slice the sugarsnap peas in half lengthways, and finely shred the Chinese leaves. Slice the beef into thin strips about 1 cm (½ in) wide.
    4. Remove the lemongrass and lime leaves from the stock. Bring the stock back to the boil, then add the carrot, leek and celery. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and increase the heat. Just as the liquid comes to the boil, add the noodles, crushing them in your hands as you drop them into the pan. Stir in the mushrooms and beef, bring back to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 minute. Stir well, then add the sugarsnap peas and Chinese leaves. Simmer for a further 3 minutes or until the beef, noodles and vegetables are just tender. Add the lime zest and juice and the fish sauce and stir well. Taste and add more fish sauce if you like.
    5. To serve, transfer the noodles, beef and vegetables to bowls using a draining spoon. Ladle the coconut stock over, sprinkle with the coriander leaves and serve immediately.

    Plus points

    * Celery provides potassium, a mineral that is important for the regulation of fluid balance in the body, thus helping to prevent high blood pressure. * Coconut milk is a typical ingredient of Thai cooking. The low-fat version (88% fat-free) has 12 g fat per 100 g (3½ oz) compared with 17 g in ordinary full-fat coconut milk. * Sugarsnap peas are a good source of soluble fibre and vitamin C.

    Some more ideas

    Instead of dried mushrooms, use 50 g (1¾ oz) sliced button mushrooms and add an extra 100 ml (3½ fl oz) stock. * If you can't get fresh lime leaves, use 8 dried lime leaves. Remove the dry stalks and discard them, then crush the leaves before using. * Low-fat coconut milk is available in cans in most supermarkets, but if you can't find it use half the quantity of ordinary coconut milk. * This soup is also delicious made with chicken. Simmer 900 ml (1½ pints) chicken stock with the Thai flavourings, then add the carrot strips and 100 g (3½ oz) baby corn, quartered lengthways (omit the leek and celery). Simmer for 5 minutes. Add 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs, about 340 g (12 oz) in total, cut into strips, the soaked shiitake mushrooms and their liquid and 50 g (1¾ oz) chopped spring onions. Stir well, then cover and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and 1 vacuum pack of ready-cooked Chinese noodles, about 150 g (5½ oz), the sugarsnap peas and Chinese leaves. Stir again and simmer for 3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Finish with the lime zest and juice, fish sauce and coriander leaves.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E. Good source of vitamin B2, zinc. Useful source of calcium, iron.

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    Reviews in English (2)


    This recipe was easy to follow and make. I added some baby corn to it. The smell of the herbs and stock simmering was just delicious.  -  07 Jul 2009


    The best meal we have had in ages. Easy to follow, pretty quick to make, great for winter when its cold. House smelt amazeballs!!!! Highly reccomend and will definatly be making again. Only downside is there waant enough broth so next time im doubling the mixture and not adding as many noodles. 11 out of 10.  -  22 Jul 2016