Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) Starter Recipe (more so guideline)

>> Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In a previous post, I briefly mentioned how little I actually measure out ingredients when cooking savoury dishes. This makes it hard for me to share some recipes that I grew up eating or cook often at home. Although recently I had a friend ask me for my pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) recipe and I had to stop for a moment to think of what actually goes in to the broth. It’s become second nature in a way and sometimes I don’t even really think about what needs to go in to the broth let alone the quantities. My response to them was that I will post a recipe close to what I use at home but the taste of the broth will be something that they will need to taste and to test.

Recently I read a blog post from David Lebovitz where he states that the French does the exact same thing! They only cook to taste. Everyone adjusts flavours of the dishes a little differently and with a certain preference, which is why they don’t believe in recipes. Cooking is a form of art and depending on the artist and paintbrush (cook and ingredients in this case), the results can be quite different.

So here I’ve provided a guideline more so than a recipe on how to make your own pho broth. Hopefully you can take with it what you need and adjust it to fit your own tastes. This is a pretty basic recipe, feel free to add in some chicken bones to enhance the flavours, throw in some tendon or brisket if you enjoy them. Play around a bit, you never know what surprises you might end up developing.

Pho - Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

Broth Ingredients:

Beef bones
Daikon (radish), cut in to 1 inch sections
1 Onion, halfed
2-3 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 cup Fish Sauce
Rock Sugar

Broth Preparation:

Place the beef bones in a stock pot (preferably 5L or larger) and bring to a boil.

Add in the daikon, onion and cinnamon sticks. Turn the heat down until the water is only simmering. Allow the broth to cook for 4-5 hours or more if you have time. I usually let me simmer for close to 6 hours or even a bit more if I’m prepping it on the weekends.

Once ready, add in the fish sauce, 2 2 inch sized chunks of rock sugar and allow it to dissolve.

Flavour the broth with salt until it is to your liking.

Pho Ingredients:

Rice Noodles
Beef, thinly sliced
Green Onions, chopped
Onions, thinly sliced
Thai Basil (optional)
Mint (optional)
Bean Sprouts (optional)

Pho Preparation:

In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and cook the rice noodles as per instructions.

Remove the noodles and place in a large soup bowl.

Cover the noodles with a thin layer of the raw beef.

Slowly ladle the broth over top the beef until it changes color (from red to brown).

Add green onions, mint, sliced onions and bean sprouts if using and enjoy!


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