Okay, this quest was a long time coming. Can I say, my husband’s job has brought us to some sad sad places whose food was culturally homogonous. And one of the major things my palate was lacking was sushi and Vietnamese food. Seriously, I think both could pretty much compose my everyday diet and I would never feel deprived. Anyway, I had googled pho recipes in the past and making my own broth from oxtail and marrow, chilling, skimming the fat etc, all seemed to be a rather tedious task. If you're a true and die hard Vietnamese food eater, read no further. (Spoiler, I used beef broth, from the carton. Gasp!)
So is there an economical, convenient and most importantly tasty way to prepare Pho in your own home. Yes! Can I say it again? A resounding yes! I will top it off by saying its healthier too. Since I'm using fat free beef broth and not a marrow based broth, the calories are seriously cut. I also used Shirataki Noodles. Minimal carbs and minimal calories. You can of course use the traditional rice noodles. But SERIOUSLY, I cannot tell the difference once they're in the broth. In addition to my own quest, my friend Ashley has been pushing me for an "easy" Asian noodle soup recipe. I had previously done a Potsticker Meatball soup. It was good, but not good enough.
So the other day I went to Publix and with the combination of beef broth and some ethnic spices, I was able to elevate the broth to a level that was to my standards. (Sometimes low, sometimes high. I can be a snob and a peasant.) So with no further ado...
Serves 6-8 (because I NEEDED leftovers! If you're less greedy than I am, you can halve it.)
2 cartons beef broth
1 -1/2 lbs thin cut sirloin, flank steak or any other thinly cut steak (you could also do chicken, veggie or seafood)
1 medium knob of ginger
1 yellow onion
3-5 pieces of Star Anise
6-10 pieces of whole cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 bags Shirataki Noodles (You can use rice noodles. But these are 15 calories a serving and you can't tell the difference!!!)
(below list is used in varying quantities, according to taste)
you will also need a square of cheese cloth
1. Turn your oven onto a broil setting. Slice the ginger into 1/4 inch thick slices and quarter the onion. "Char" for roughly 8 minutes on the broil setting.
2. Place the ginger and onion onto a large square (roughly 8"x8"). Add one cinnamon stick, 3-5 pieces of star anise and 6-10 cardamom seeds. Tie the bag shut.
3. In a large pot, empty both containers of beef broth as well as 2 tbsp of fish sauce. (If you're halving the broth, use half the fish sauce.)
4. Tie the cheese cloth square into a little pouch and drop into the broth. Place a lid on the pot and allow to simmer on a low heat for 45 min to 1 hour.
5. Open and drain the Shirataki Noodles; adding them to the broth. Remove the cheesecloth sack.
6. Tear the thin steak slices into 2"x2" "strips". Add them to the hot broth and remove them from heat.
7. On a separate plate have lime slices, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro and jalapeno slices ready for topping.
8. Spoon the broth, steak and noodles into a bowl.
9. Squeeze a lime or two, add some bean sprouts, bail, cilantro, jalapenos slices, etc...
10. Add the Siracha and the Hoisin sauce to taste.
11. Eat with a Pho spoon (or a large spoon) and chop sticks.
Slurp away and enjoy!