Sunday, November 09, 2008

quick faux pho

Whipped it up for lunch today on this cold gray Sunday and remembered I'd been meaning to share my adaptation (cheat!) of Vietnamese pho soup, which is normally a long-cooking broth.
Briefly cook (do not brown) in a tablespoon of olive oil in a soup pot:
- small (or medium) knob of fresh ginger, grated
- large clove (or two) of garlic, chopped fine
Add a few cups (2-4) of chicken or beef broth (the spicing given is for 2 big bowls). Add:
- pinch of anise seed, crushed with fingers or ground
- 2 pinches of ground cloves
- teaspoon of cinnamon
-1/4 cup fish sauce (quite common in the Asian sauces section of the grocery store)
- salt to taste
Simmer for as long as you've got, or at least 1/2 hour so the flavours infuse the broth a bit.
Meanwhile, prepare your noodles. Pho is supposed to be flat rice noodles but hey, this is faux pho so do whatever you wish! If you've never cooked rice noodles before, follow the package directions for soaking but be sure use boiling water, not just hot from the tap - I tried that, it doesn't work! Also be sure to boil them in a separate pot rather than in the broth because the cooking water takes on a sorta strong weird flavour that'll ruin the broth!
Once the noodles are ready, put them in the bowls and then spoon the broth over. Next comes the garnishing, which is again up to you but would traditionally be beef (thinly sliced strips, which I guess you would throw into the broth to cook shortly before you serve the broth). I eat mine vegetarian or sometimes with chicken breast slices, either leftovers warmed up or a freshly cooked breast browned in oil with garlic and then steamed by adding a bit of water and putting a lid on the pan.
Last but not least, and you can just put all this on a platter to be added at the table:
- bean sprouts
- fresh basil leaves, ripped before adding
- chopped cilantro
- thinly sliced onion and/or finely chopped green onion
- sliced chili peppers if you want
- a few slices of lime to squirt on
Mmmm, smells wonderful! Better than a cheap chain pho restaurant anyway!


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