Pho – Vietnamese beef noodle soup:
My friend’s parents have recently come to visit, and brought us a whole load of amazing treats, everything from a gammon joint and steaks to a bag full of chocolate and replenished loo rolls, so the next few blogs may be quite meat-centric: Excellent!
A couple of months ago we bought a duck and managed to get an insane amount of meals out of it, we had Japanese glazed duck, French duck with cherry sauce, peking duck legs with pancakes and finally we boiled down the carcass and made Vietnamese Pho.
At the end of a very duck heavy week (this was in the dark times before we got a freezer…) the pho broth was so light and full of flavour it was possibly my favourite part – which is saying a lot! We just had the broth with noodles as we’d pretty much used our entire meat budget that week on duck…
Pho is a type of Vietnamese broth (for super accurate pronunciation see this link to Forvo) – which is usually a bowl of rice noodles, with raw beef on top, covered with a hot broth (to cook the meat) and various garnishes. It’s become relatively well know over here with people like Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsey doing their Asian cookery tours and making their take on the classic, and we thought we’d have another go at it, this time doing it properly!
Our recipe is adapted from the Steamy Kitchen website – Jaden Hair has an amazing set of recipes which look (and taste) fantastic.
For this recipe you need to get hold of some beef bones – your local butcher will normally give them to you for free – making this dish even cheaper to make, the bones make the stock rich and beefy.
Start by boiling your bones by themselves on a really fast boil for ten minutes to remove excess fat – this also mean you don’t have to skim the scum off the top as you would normally do for stock. Once the bone have boiled for 10 minutes, drain and rinse them and the (large) saucepan.
While the bones are on their first boil half 2 onions and half a good 10cm of ginger lengthwise, lightly brush them with oil and grill for about 6 minutes on each side until charred.
Into your (rinsed) stock pot throw in your bones, charred ginger onions, a cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, 5 star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 cloves , 1 tsp salt, 60ml fish sauce and a chunk of pal sugar (or about a tbsp. of white sugar). Cover with water and simmer for 2 ½ hours.
Strain the stock – the clearer the final stock is the better – although you shouldn’t be too worried about this as Gordon Ramsey (who currently has 14 Michelin stars) had to clarify his stock with egg whites as you would a consommé when he was in Vietnam…
Next you need to set up your bowls and their various garnishes: Blanch rice noodles in boiling water for about a minute, strain and fill each bowl with them, then layer finely sliced raw steak on top, then pour over the boiling broth.
Serve with chillies, mint, coriander, lime juice and Thai basil.
Hope everyone had a lovely Easter! I’m a day behind with the blog as my amazing big sister is staying with us this week ! It’s an even better excuse for cooking and chocolate cake for breakfast – I may have been showing off my Kenwood mixer last night and had to prove how amazing it was… 🙂