Don't be overwhelmed nor be intimidated by the ingredients, some i'm sure are already in your pantry and some can be purchased easily...promise, well if you have an Asian store in your neck of the woods.
Through the years i have tried/tweaked the recipe. I have also cooked this in 3 different ways using slow cooker, dutch oven simmering for hours and pressure cooker w/c means cooked in an hour. I personally didn't see any difference it's all about your preference and how much time you have. I have tendons aside from the chuck roast so i opted to use pressure cooker to tenderize the meat fast.
The kind of meat cut really is again your preference, i have used short ribs, oxtail but for now i'm using chuck roast, beef tendons and bone marrows.
Y: 4 to 6
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 t five spice powder
2 T sugar (use 1 T if using coconut juice in can)
4 lbs. beef cut of your choice (chuck roast, short ribs, ox tail, stew meat)
1 T vegetable oil
4 to 6 small yellow onions or 1 med. sweet onions
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
3 oz.fresh ginger, sliced and lightly crushed
2 cups young coconut juice or beef stock (i personally like coconut juice)
2 stalks lemongrass, remove green tops and root ends, bulbs halved crosswise and lightly crushed.
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long
3 to 4 dried chilies or 2 fresh bird's eye or Thai chilies
1 t annatto seeds or powder (sometimes called atsuete/achuete)
2 to 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
After cooking this a lot of times, there are steps i skip but will still show you all the original steps on how to cook this.
1. Combine the fish sauce, five spice powder, and sugar in a dish. Add the beef meat, coating well and allow to marinate, refrigerated for 4 to 6 hours. (I skip this step).
2. Heat the oil, onions, garlic and ginger in a pot. Cook the ingredients until fragrant and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the meat, fish sauce, five spice powder and sugar. Then add the coconut juice or beef stock and cover the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. (I've used both coconut juice and beef stock, i like using coconut juice)
3. Add the lemongrass, star anise, cinnamon stick, chilies and annatto seeds or powder. (Annatto seeds or powder turns the dish red/orange color) simmer, covered over medium-low heat for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
4. Add carrots and continue braising until the meat falls off the bones. Skim off the fat.
5. Restaurants typically serve this w/ noodles but i love mine w/ steamed white rice. Garnish w/ cilantro leaves, Thai basil, lime wedges, bean sprouts, fresh Thai chilis if you want it more spicy.
To simplify the task of skimming fat and getting a clear and rich colored stock, remove onions, carrots, and meat from the pot. Then place a double or triple layer of paper towels in a sieve set over a bowl and strain the cooking liquid through the paper towels.
Some of the ingredients
Serve with lemon wedges and onion flakes
Or simply the soup sans lemon and all condiments
If you go to a Vietnamese Restaurant i highly recommend this! This dish is called Bo Kho Ca Rot, Spicy Beef and Carrots or simply the spicy orange/red soup.