My appreciation for my culture parallels my appreciation for a home made Vietnamese meal. Everyone always raved about my mom’s Vietnamese cooking, as for me, I never really cared for it. That changed when I went to college. I think that the one thing that I look forward to the most when I go back to my hometown is my mom’s Pho. Pho is the most popular Vietnamese dish and it is a chicken noodle soup either served with chicken or beef. Nowadays they serve it with all sorts of meat. It also consists of rice noodles and is garnished with green onions. Its simple, light and tasty!
2 onions, halved
4″ nub of ginger, halved lengthwise
5-6 lbs of beef bones
6 quarts of water
1 package of Pho Spices [1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbl coriander seeds, 1 tbl fennel seeds, 5 star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves – place in mesh bag]
1 1/2 tbl salt
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 inch chunk of yellow rock sugar (about 1 oz)
2 lbs rice noodles (dried or fresh)
cooked beef from the broth
1/2 lb flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thin as possible.
big handful of each: mint, cilantro, basil
2 limes, cut into wedges
2-3 chili peppers, sliced
2 big handfuls of bean sprouts
Cock sauce (Sriracha)
Char: Turn your broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.
Parboil the bones: Fill large pot (12-qt capacity) with cool water. Boil water, and then add the bones, keeping the heat on high. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes and drain
Boil broth: Add ginger, onion, pho spice packet, beef, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside (you’ll be eating this meat later in the bowls) Continue simmering for another 1 1/2 hours. Strain broth and return the broth to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning – if you want a little more flavor, add a few dashes more of fish sauce, large pinch of salt and a small nugget of rock sugar.
Prepare noodles & meat: Slice your flank/london broil/sirloin as thin as possible – try freezing for 15 minutes prior to slicing to make it easier. Remember the cooked beef meat that was part of your broth? Cut or shred the meat and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Your guests will “assemble” their own bowls. Follow the directions on your package of noodles- I prefer the thin and fresh kind. For some fresh rice noodles, just a quick 5 second blanch in hot water is all that’s needed.
Ladling: Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, shredded cooked beef and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. the hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately. Guests can garnish their own bowls as they wish.