Vietnamese Beef Rice Soup and Ginger (Chao Bo) is the closing dish for the popular Vietnamese seven-course beef feast, where its primary role is to settle the stomach after six indulgent courses. At that point, I find it hard to enjoy the soup because I’m usually stuffed. But I regularly make this soup for lunch. It is a good way to get sustenance without feeling weighed down.
For extra richness, crack an egg into each bowl as you are dividing up the ginger and beef. Break the membrane of the yolk with the tip of a knife to facilitate cooking once the soup is added.
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MINCING AND CHOPPING MEAT BY HAND
When Vietnamese Beef Rice Soup and Ginger Recipe (Cháo Bò) calls for a small quantity of ground meat, try mincing it by hand for better flavor and texture. It doesn’t take much time and you get to select the cut of meat. First, trim away any gristly bits, such as tendon. Then, using a sharp, heavy cleaver or a chef’s knife, cut the meat into pea-sized pieces and mound them in a pile. Using a rocking motion, move the blade from one side of the pile to the other. Pause occasionally and lift the meat with the blade and fold it over on itself to keep it in a moderately compact mass. For a minced texture, chop until you have a rough pastelike consistency that is not as fine as typical ground meat. For a hand-chopped texture, the goal is a coarser finish, like a chili grind.
If you’re ambitious and want to hand chop a large quantity of meat, use two knives of the same size and weight, working them as if you are drumming. Or, pulse the cut pieces of meat in a food processor or electric mini-chopper. The resulting texture isn’t as uniform as doing it by hand but the convenience is greater.