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David and Betty - Vietnamese Beef Stew

with Carrot Puree

Prep time: 25 mins    Cook time: 3 hours    Serves: 4-6


1kg carrots, chopped

25g butter

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs red wine vinegar

100g watercress sprigs

grilled crusty bread, to serve

basil and coriander leaves, to garnishStew

2 tbs ghee or olive oil

4 beef cheek, trimmed

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1½ tsp madras curry powder

1 tsp Chinese five spice

2cm piece fresh ginger, grated

400g can diced tomatoes

3 tbs fish sauce

2 tbs bottled apple sauce

1 large stalk lemongrass, bruised, cut into thirds

2 star anise

1 bay leaf

250ml beef stock

250ml coconut waterPickled Shallots

250ml rice wine vinegar

3 tbs caster sugar

Pinch salt

2 shallots, quartered, layers separated


  1. To prepare beef cheeks, preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Heat half the ghee in a deep flameproof casserole dish (large enough to fit beef snugly, which will ensure they are submerged in liquid during cooking). Cook, beef cheeks, two at a time, for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from dish and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining ghee in same dish over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden. Stir in garlic, curry powder and five spice. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add beef cheeks.
  4. Bring to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 3 hours or until beef is tender. Remove beef cheeks and set aside.
  5. Simmer sauce over medium heat until thickened. Strain if desired.
  6. To pickle eschallots, stir vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in eschallots and set aside to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, place carrots in large saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to a gentle boil. Boil until soft. Drain and allow steam to evaporate. Pass potatoes through a ricer. Add butter and beat with a wooden spoon to combine. Season.
  8. Whisk oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Add watercress and toss to coat.
  9. Serve beef cheeks and sauce with carrot purée, pickled eschallots and crusty bread. Garnish with basil and coriander leaves.