Have you tried Pho?
H and I love a large steaming bowl of fragrant Pho, especially during the colder months. It’s hard to believe we have trouble finding our favorite Pho restaurant. There are literally dozens of them, but we have yet to try one that truly stands out.
Everyone seems to have their own preferences. What we’re looking for is a flavorful broth that has been simmered for hours, and is not too salty. For Pho lovers out there, you know what I mean when I say “MSG overload!” Every time we’ve dined out, we’re guzzling water for hours afterwards.
The beef should be good quality and not too tough or chewy. Next up, the noodles, either they’re over or under cooked. And, not all places offer coriander or saw-leaf herb, which are traditional garnishes.
H was so frustrated he decided to surprise me by making Pho. He didn’t seem to mind that he was in the kitchen for 4 hours! H has only been cooking for over a year, and I can’t believe how much he’s learned. He’s always been a fantastic sous chef, but he’s really starting to outdo me, which I don’t mind at all. I think I’ll have to start calling him “Chef H”
I have to admit, for a first try, Chef H’s Pho was amazing. I felt like we were in a really good authentic Pho restaurant, yet, here we were in the comfort of our own home. H didn’t even need my help; he just kept shooing me away and told me to sit while he expertly assembled the bowls.
While it’s a lot of work, nothing beats homemade cooking (or baking). We are definitely craving a bowl of Pho!
Adapted from Vietworldkitchen.com
Serves 4 – 6 (or in H’s case, 2 – 3)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 5 whole star anise
- 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
- 2 medium onions (if you have time, char them in a very hot oven)
- 4″ piece of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
- 6-7 quarts of water
- 2 – 4 lbs of beef bones, preferably leg and knuckle
- 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2-4 lbs of rice noodles (dried or fresh)
- ½ lb flank, beef sirloin, eye of round or rib-eye, sliced as thin as possible (easier to slice if placed in freezer for 10-15 minutes)
- Beef balls (optional) – add during last 20-30 minutes of cooking time
Optional: Boil beef bones for a few minutes to remove the guck, rinse and set aside
- Place cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and coriander seeds in a fine mesh bag (specifically for cooking) and tie tightly
- Place onion, ginger, water, beef bones, sugar, fish sauce and salt in a large stock pot and bring to a boil
- Lower heat to medium/medium low and simmer for 3 hours
- Skim any surface fat as needed
- Place dried noodles in a large pot
- Add boiling water until the noodles are covered
- Let sit for 5 – 8 minutes, drain and set aside
- If using fresh noodles, omit above steps
- Place noodles in individual large bowls
- Place thinly sliced raw beef on top
- Pour hot beef broth over noodles
- ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped coriander/cilantro
- 1-lb bean sprouts, rinsed thoroughly (optional)
- Fresh mint leaves
- Asian basil
- Saw-leaf herb
- Thai chilies
- Lime wedges
- Hoisin sauce
- Sriracha sauce