Monday, January 3, 2011

Phở - Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup

I was at the Asian House in East Lansing, MI when I first sampled Pho (pronounced).  It was really flavorful, delicious, spicy yet refrehsing.  Pho is great to eat on a nice cold wintry day to warm you up.  It was even good when I was in Cambodia with temps around 90ºF and 100% humidity.  I didn't mind sweating my a** off while eating this mouthwatering dish  - well worth the experience, culture and food!
So I bought this cookbook a while back, Gordon Ramsay Healthy Appetite and noticed a recipe in there for a Vietnamese beef and noodle soup or commonly called - Pho.  I showed this to Nicole and she got all excited because she absolutely loves this dish.  I've since made it a few times.
Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.  It is often served with beef fillet.  I had ostrich so I used that which tasted just as good.  You could use chicken as well.

Serves 3-4
500g beef fillet (about 1lb)
1 in. knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely crushed
1 tbsp sesame oil
200g dried thin rice noodles or already cooked soft rice noodles
salt and pepper

Slice the beef into rectangular shape pieces, thinly as possible 
Place in a bowl and toss with grated ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, and sesame oil.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30-40 minutes

1.5 litres beef stock
1.5 in. knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 star anise
3 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cardamon pod, lightly crushed
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
salt and pepper

For the broth - pour the beef stock into a large pot and add sliced ginger, star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamon pod, caster sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Strain the broth into a clean pan, discarding the ginger and spices.  Taste and adjust the seasoning. 

Add the rice noodles to a large pan of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions until tender, but still retaining a bite.  Drain and toss with a little sesame oil to prevent them from sticking.
I used ready cooked/soft rice noodles.  Place them in a serving bowl.  They will warm up once the broth is poured over.

Bring the broth to a boil and add the beef and bean sprouts.  Simmer for just 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.
Ladle the broth over the noodles, dividing the beef and bean sprouts equally.  

To Serve:
bean sprouts
2-3 spring onions
coriander (cilantro) chopped
lime wedges
hoisin sauce
chilli sauce
small bunch of mint or Thai sweet basil (Optional)

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