Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vietnamese Pho

This dish was first introduced to me from one of my good friends Angi G. and her husband. A few years ago, we went on a double date with them to a Pho restaurant in Oregon and all I can say is what else have I been missing. I am always up to trying new things, but never came across Pho until then. However, since that time, Angi's husband has wowed me with his own creation of Pho and I wish that I could just run over there for more and more. I have to admit, his was the best I have ever had. So, this brings about my own creation of Pho inspired by Jerry and all of his Pho wisdom.

What is Pho?
Pho is basically a Vietnamese Noodle Soup. Although there are different meats involved with Pho, for the most part it is usually Beef or chicken. I personally enjoy Beef! The broth is the soul of this soup while the array of toppings amplify the flavors with in. Depending on what I have, my favorite toppings are: bean sprouts, Asian basil, Chile sauce, mint leaves, Hoisin sauce, Cilantro, green onions, and limes (a must). Oh, don't forget the meat!

Butcher Story:
So this girl walks in a butcher shop and says "Do you have any beef bones?" The butcher replies "For your dog?" and the girl says "No, for my Pho." This continues to puzzle the poor butcher until she further explains about this Vietnamese Soup that she will be making from Beef bones. The Butcher vanishes to the back of his shop for quite a while until he returns with an arms length of beef ribs. "Will these work?" he asks. "Overwhelmed by the site of this monstrous rack, she replies". Sure... but how much? (thinking they would be a fortune). "How about 6 bucks? There's not much meat on them anyway." He states. Wow, six bucks the girl thought. With that, she accepted and the butcher threw in a half pound of tender steak for a few extra bucks to  complete the meat she needed for her Pho.

Ribs are not usually the best for making a broth, but they worked for me. Normally you would use shanks, oxtail (the tail of the cow), knuckles, or anything that has a lot of cartilage to give a good beefy flavor. Some people will also use rump or chuck roast pieces to add with the bones. My rib bones just happened to be quite large and so they did the trick for me.  

To accept the Bountiful Basket Challenge, this recipe I made from almost all the vegetables I got in my Asian pack. If you don't have all of these ingredients, some of them can be added optionally. I have made it with and with them. Both turned out great.

Broth ingredients-
About 6 pounds Beef Bones with or without meat.
About 6 quarts of water, more as needed
1-1/2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt, more to taste
6 Whole Cloves
2 white or yellow Onions, halved
1/2 of a Ginger, sliced
Rock, Raw, or organic Sugar (About 2-3 Tablespoons) you can use white too.
4 Anise Stars
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 small or half of large Daikon Radish, sliced (Optional)
2 Lemon Grass stalks (Optional)

Toppings - 
Asian Basil
Mint Leaves
Chile Sauce
Hoisin Sauce
Limes to squeeze
Green Onions
Bean Sprouts

Additional Ingredients-
Rice Noodles, cook as directed (you can use dry or wet)
Tender cuts of Beef, thinly sliced

Reference: Of all the videos I watched to see how they make a Pho broth, this one was my favorite because it was easy to follow with the ingredients I had. 

 Step 1: Ready your Bones

Bones with little or no meat:
I followed the way she prepared her bones. Except, in this instance, I used the meat from these bones in a previous meal in which I roasted the ribs and saved the bones for this broth. I just cleaned them really well and boiled them for about 10 minutes to get them cleaner. Then I rinsed them again to have them ready for the broth.

Bones with meat:
 If you use bones that have meat on them, seer the meat first and then put them back into the pot and follow the rest of the steps.

Step 2: Water and Aromatics

Fill pot with water. Bring water to a boil with salt. Then add the cleaned bones to water. Follow that by adding: Ginger, Anise, Onions, sugar, cinnamon, Cloves, Lemon grass, and Daikon Radish.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to continue a low boil for up to 3 hours.

As it cooks, water will start to reduce and scum will form. Try to scrape off the scum as it cooks to have a clearer and cleaner broth. Also add more water as needed. Add more sugar as needed too.

When it is ready, strain out broth into another pot and it will be ready to use.
Step 3: Assemble Your Soup

 Lay out your cooked noodles in a bowl, layer thin slices rare or medium rare meat across, add hot broth (meat will begin to cook a little more), and add any or all toppings.

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1 comment:

Georgia Collins said...

I love Pho! I can't believe didn't try before then.

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