KJF916 10:19pm, 20 January 2007
For we soup/bento enthusiasts, I was happy to be raking a community garden this morning with a Vietnamese woman and we discussed Pho, and the fact I'd just made some with a stock cube, and I wondered if these were considered an abomination by a true Pho enthusiast. She said they are fine, a version of fast food, but it's much easier and acceptable to make a short Pho stock, in a very simple fashion, and it's done this way:

1 can of commercial beef stock
1 can of commercial chicken stock if desired
1 can of water
Ginger chunks (small handful)
Sliced Onions
Star Anise pods (2)
Bay Leaf (1)
Fennel Seed (small pile or few pinches)

Add the can of beef stock to your pot, and dilute with 1 can of water. You can also add 1 can of chicken stock if you want a blended flavor, but this is optional. Add all the spices and other ingredients and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, then strain very thoroughly until no particles remain.

Serve as you would Pho, with traditional toppings, including limes and basil adn such, adding a half teaspoon or so of fish sauce to the stock if you have it, or not.

"Very acceptable for busy mothers and executive women" she said.

ramona.flowers PRO 11 years ago
I've never had pho, but my former roommate used to rave about it so I've always been curious. What else goes in besides the stock?
amanky Posted 11 years ago. Edited by amanky (admin) 11 years ago
way to glean info from the "wise"... *sigh* moments like this make me long for a quicker trip to gather such info from my grandmother...
KJF916 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by KJF916 (member) 11 years ago
Amanky -- she was wonderful. I've coaxed a promise out of her to come help me put in my community garden plot this Spring.

Ramona -- a big bowl of Pho (pronounced, more or less like "fuh") is one of my true pleasures. Very healthy, low fat, simple, aromatic. It cures all my ills. It's based on consomme which was introduced to the Vietnamese during the long occupation by the French (which also led to the Vietnamese learning to bake such wonderful breads which in gave birth to exquiste Vietnamese Banh Mi baguette sandwiches).

A traditional bowl of pho is quite large, and has rice noodles placed in the bowl, over which is ladled the Pho broth -- a concoction of beef broth, anise, fennel, assorted other herbs and spices, and strained until it is absolutely clear.

Purists grade Pho on how clear the broth is, and how aromatic and rich in flavor it remains. The broth should be boiling hot in order to add your toppings and ingredients.

I learned alot from my new friend -- "Pho" translated means "your own bowl" and this refers to the fact your toppings are presented to your seperately, and you customize your bowl of soup to your liking, and you do not share it with others (which is typically the custom).

Those toppings are generally: Cold bean sprouts, sawtooth basil, leafy basil, cilantro, a few other green herbs depending on where you go, thinly sliced jalapeno pepper, and limes. Served on the side would be Siracha (sp?) sauce or hot plum sauce or other "spicy chili" sauce to add some heat, if you like.

You choose your meats from a variety of options -- Vietnamese meatballs (blech, I never like them, they are like rubber balls to me), or various cuts of beef. The Vietnamese prefer fatty meats and tendons and tripe style meats, but you can also get safer brisket and flank steak. It is typically brought to you raw, but others add it before bringing it to you. The idea is to add your very very thinly shaved beef to the boiling broth once it as the table and the broth cooks the meat nearly instantly. You can also find cooked chicken in a chicken based Pho for those who don't want beef.

You squirt your lime over the whole concoction of noodles, broth, flank steak, bean sprouts and torn basil ... add chili oil or chili sauce if you like -- and dig in. It's rich, wonderful, and really really addictive.

If you have a Vietnamese / Asian area of town or a "PHO" restaurant, do step in and try some!
KJF916 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by KJF916 (member) 11 years ago
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