Soft noodle rolls with beef & saw-tooth coriander

Soft noodle rolls with beef & saw-tooth coriander

Rouleaux des pâtes douces fourrés au boeuf et au coriandre

Luke Nguyen's France
Alan Benson

This is a very traditional dish from Hanoi, called pho cuon, or ‘pho in a roll’. It has all the elements of a bowl of pho: beef, sweet basil, coriander, chilli and noodles. The only thing missing is the broth itself. You’ll find soft rice noodle sheets in the fridge section of your local Asian market; make sure the noodles are fresh and soft, not dried.


Quantity Ingredient
300g beef fillet
500g fresh flat rice noodle sheets, measuring 10 cm x 20 cm
1 bunch thai basil, leaves picked
1 bunch saw-tooth coriander, leaves picked, (see glossary)
1 bunch rice paddy herb, leaves picked, (see glossary)
2 long red chillies, julienned
Nuoc mam cham dipping sauce, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemongrass stem, finely chopped, white part only
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 red asian shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
60ml vegetable oil


  1. Put the beef in the freezer for 1–2 hours to partially freeze it, which will make it much easier to slice very thinly.
  2. Place the beef on a chopping board and use a very sharp knife to cut it as thinly as possible across the grain; ideally the slices should be only about 1 mm thick.
  3. To make the marinade, combine the fish sauce, sugar, pepper and a pinch of sea salt in a mixing bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add the beef and turn to coat in the marinade, then cover and set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  5. Heat a frying pan or chargrill pan over medium heat. Working in two batches, add the beef and sear for about 30 seconds on each side, or until browned. The beef should be cooked to medium.
  6. Once all the beef is cooked, place a rice noodle sheet on a chopping board, with the shorter end closest to you. Now place some Thai basil, saw-tooth coriander and a piece of beef along the base of the sheet. Place a stem of rice paddy herb and some chilli on top, positioning them so they are sticking out of the roll a little.
  7. Fold the rice noodle sheet up to enclose the herbs and beef, and continue to roll towards the top to form a nice tight roll. Repeat with the remaining rice noodle sheets and filling ingredients.
  8. Serve with the dipping sauce.
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