Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recipe for Pho

SELF submitted a recipe for a Vietnamese soup called "Pho" to (and received several not so favorable reviews which I will revisit later). I forwarded said recipe to my husband since the soup is something we both love.

His taste buds must have been tempted because he soon suggested that we go to our favorite restaurant for Phở after work. I will never turn down such an offer even if the restaurant is clear across town.

Once seated at Pho Kim Long, we ordered a couple beers and picked pot stickers for an appetizer rather than the usual spring rolls. The service is so fast at this restaurant that our soup arrived within minutes--well before the potstickers. (If you are ever in Las Vegas, Pho Kim Long is just minutes from the Strip on Spring Mountain, just east of the I-15.)

Boiling hot, I can smell the flavors in the Phở rise up with the steam. I usually order the combination which has rare steak, well-done flank, beef meatballs, tendons, and tripe. My husband ordered the same thing but without the tendons and tripe.

YUM-YUM!! Phở is surely one of our favorite dishes. I have a recipe passed on to me by my sisters. However, this is not a Top Ramen-like recipe such as the one submitted by SELF but requires hours and perhaps a couple days to make. (True there is a recipe for every taste and I give kudos to the SELF version for being low-sodium and probably less fatty broth. There are also different versions of Phở besides the beef broth including chicken and fish broth but the beef broth is by far my favorite).

Enough said, here is my version of the recipe from how I was taught to make Phở:

For the Phở broth:

  1. Boil 8 to 10 quarts of water and throw in...
    • one whole yellow onion (quartered)
    • three carrots (cut into 4 inch slices)
    • three stalks of celery (cut into 4 inch slices)
    • beer (8 ounce)
    • beef soup bones (ox tails, knuckle bones, etc.)
    • beef flank steak, ribs, and or round eye
    • beef meatballs (can be found in the frozen section of an Asian
      market); I cute an "X" across the top so it splits into a purhty widdle star or flower as it cooks
    • 2-4 dried star of anise (or you can purchase a seasoning pouch for Pho which includes all the spices and herbs)
    • Pho seasoning (comes in a cube)
  2. Boil for hours skimming and discarding the frothy fat off the top of the pot
  3. Taste and season with salt, crushed black pepper, and fish sauce if needed

The noodles:

The rice noodles usually come dried but you can also find frozen, pre-soaked ones at an Asian market.

If you are using the dry rice noodles, soak them in warm water. Meanwhile boil water a 3 or 5-quart sauce pot. When you are ready to serve Phở, drain and put a handful of the noodles that were soaking in a metal sieve and dunk the sieve with the noodles into the boiling water. Immerse the noodles long enough for them to cook but remain firm (just a few seconds is usually what it takes) like a rubberband.

Preparing the Phở to eat:

Put the cooked noodles in a bowl, pour the broth over the noodles (enough to cover an inch over the noodles; the noodles tend to expand as they soak in the broth so you want to have enough broth). Add the meatballs and beef from the broth, sliced rare flank steak, and/or seafood mix.

Garnish with Chinese basil, bean sprouts, cilantro, and/or fresh green jalapenos (my dad likes to put slices of fresh tomatoes but I think warm fresh tomatoes is gross). Squeeze in the juice of 1/4 lime wedge, add sugar (1 tablespoon should do it), 1 tablespoon of sirachi hot sauce, 1 tablespoon of chili hot sauce, 1 tablespoon of hoison sauce, spritz of soy sauce and/or fish sauce, and fried garlic and you are ready to enjoy!! (Or if you are like me, take photos and then dig in.) The quantity of spices are approximations and always optional; you will learn what you like or don't like by experimenting.

It is all pretty easy (hope I didn't forget anything), this long post just make it seem hard to do. The only time intensive part is watching the broth and skimming the fat off the top from time to time. (My sister says the broth is even better the next day if I keep it overnight in the fridge and wait to serve it the next day.)

SO ... now you can make your own Phở at home or do what my husband and I do and pay $7 to have it ready to eat in minutes!!


CathyInTulsa said...

I'm so glad your recipe is still here. I just got finished making it. YUM!

Daly said...

Oh I'm glad the recipe is still useful to you Cathy. Now you got me thinking about making the soup!! :)