Sunday, October 4, 2009

Semi Homemade Pho

Pho, pronounced "fuh", is a Vietnamese noodle soup dish. It usually is made up of a beef broth, meat, noodles, and spices. And unlike American soups, you don't have to eat all the broth; it's just there to help cook the meat and keep everything else warm. I have a wonderful Philipino friend who is married to an equally wonderful Vietnamese man. The two of them helped teach me how to make pho the easy way. Now, let me be clear--there is absolutely nothing wrong with making your own pho broth from scratch. Nothing, I say. But if you happen to be able to get your hands on some pho spices, and some beef broth, and maybe some ginger and onion to really improve the flavor...well, you can make a pretty good version. So when my boyfriend and I had a craving for pho, we knew what to do. And paired with a good beer (him) or a rum and gingerale cocktail (me), we had an awesome lunch.

What's your best version of a comfort food classic?

Semi Homemade Pho

4 cans beef broth

1 bag pho spices

1 whole sweet onion

1 large piece ginger

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 package instant noodles (Chapagetti is a good brand, as is Maruchan)

½ lb flank, London broil, sirloin or eye of round, raw

1 bag bean sprouts

1 bunch basil

2 limes, cut into wedges

Siracha sauce

Hoisin sauce

Jalapenos or other chile peppers (optional)

Cut the onion into ½ inch rings and the ginger into ½ inch slices lengthwise. Grill or lightly broil them until the edges brown and the onion is translucent. Pour the beef broth into a large pot. Add the pho spices, the fish sauce, and the onion and ginger, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cook the instant noodles and slice the meat thinly(partially freezing it makes this easier). When the broth is boiling, place the noodles in a bowl, pour broth over them, add a few slices of meat, then add basil and bean sprouts to taste. Mix well to make sure the broth cooks the meat thoroughly. Use the limes, siracha sauce and hoisin sauce to taste as well. Serves four.

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