Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vietnamese Pho

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
It is one of those nights where you get a call from a friend asking that we have dinner to prepare for a group of 8 or 10 the very same day. You then go into overdrive as to what kind of dinner menu you can come up with. One request was a soup dish since the last few days have been kind of cool which is unusual this time of the year. So my first thought was Pho. They have been asking for a hotpot type of dish but I have to ask for the recipe from my very good friend, Shujuan. It will definitely be a challenge to find all the right ingredients for the hotpot but for the moment, I needed something quick and delicious. 

Searching the internet, I came accross a website with a detailed description of a Vietnamese Pho. It is from Jaden Hair who is the author of the Steamy Kitchen blog. I copied her ingredient list and went with my idea of Pho which was based on a trip to Washington DC where we ended up having dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. That was more than 10 years ago but the memory of their wonderful Pho still lingers. Anyway, here then is my uber simplified version of Pho. 

Vietnamese Pho - Adapted*

2 lbs beef soup bones
1 onion halved
2 inch ginger, peeled and sliced
12 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
5 star anise pods
1/2 tsp cardammom, ground
5 cloves
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
handful of parsley, basil and cilantro
4 cups bean sprouts
1 lb thinly sliced beef sirloin
1/2 pack Sobe noodles
1 lb fresh mushrooms
red chile peppers, optional
Hoisin Sauce
Red Chili Sauce

1. In a large pressure cooker, combine the first thirteen ingredients. Bring to 
    a boil and once it starts to make the noise, clock it for an hour. If using 
    the conventional pot, boil at a simmer for about 2-3 hours. 

2. Release the pressure and strain the contents of the pressure cooker. 
    Transfer the liquid into a large pot and keep at a slow simmer. Check for 
    flavor and adjust with more salt or fish sauce. It should be a combination 
    of salty with a little bit of sweetness so add more sugar as well if needed.

3. If the soup bones have some meat on it, slice thinly and set aside. 

4. Cook half a packet of the Sobe noodles as per packet instructions. Drain 
    and soak in cold water until ready to use. 

5. To serve family style, transfer the cold noodles into a large bowl. Arrange 
    the fresh mushrooms, bean sprouts, raw beef slices, and cooked beef on 
    top of the noodles. Pour in the broth and garnish with the fresh herbs. 

6. Serve with slices of red chile, and a dab of the Hosin and Red Chili Sauce 
    to taste. A spritzing of fresh lime also gives this dish a fresh citrusy taste. 


If you are iffy about raw beef, you can cook it in the broth for a few minutes. Do not overcook or they will get gnarly. 

We did away with the fresh red chili since none of us liked the heat in our soup. 

We also did away with the lime since it was not available in the grocery stores here. They usually carry lemons but I also forgot to grab one before heading for the dinner party. 

*Vietnamese Pho: Steamy Kitchen blog    

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