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Vietnamese Beef and Spinach Soup

Easy, full of flavour and very nutritious - beef and spinach are packed with iron - this takes five minutes to cook.


  • 450g fresh spinach

  • 175g lean steak, cut into thin slices about 5cm long

  • 2 shallots, finely sliced

  • 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce

  • 1.2 litre chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and chopped

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1.

    Remove the stalks from the spinach and wash the leaves well. Blanch the leaves for a few seconds in a large pan of boiling water until they are just wilted. Then drain them well and refresh in cold water to prevent further cooking. Drain again, squeezing out excess water.

  • 2.

    Combine the steak with the shallots, garlic, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and some black pepper then set aside.

  • 3.

    Just before you are ready to eat, bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan and season it with the remaining fish sauce, the lemon juice, sugar and chilli.

  • 4.

    Add the blanched spinach and stir in the beef and its marinade. Bring the soup back to the simmering point, add a few grindings of black pepper and serve at once.

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