Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pho Bo

Pho (pronounced 'fuh') is a classic Vietnamese rice noodle soup that is delightful, especially on a foggy night like the one we we are having in San Francisco today. Pho is traditionally made with beef in a beef broth however you can substitute chicken or prawns with a chicken or seafood stock broth instead. The best part about this soup is the multiple garnishes that you can choose from and add to your liking. Choose from cilantro, bean sprouts, green onions, Thai basil and lime wedges. Sauces range from (sweet) housin to my uber favorite (spicy/hot) Sriracha.

Here's a take on the recipe by our friends at Gourmet.

Pho Bo (Hanoi Beef Noodle Soup)

6 cups beef broth
1 (1/4-inch thick) slice ginger
2 whole star anise*
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 pound piece boneless beef sirloin, trimmed of any fat
3 ounces dried flat rice noodles*
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce*
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1/8 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, washed and finely chopped
1 small thin fresh red or green Asian chilie, sliced very thin
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Lime wedges for garnish
*Available at Asian Markets

In a 2 quart saucepan bring broth, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. With a very sharp knife cut sirloin across the grain into very thin slices. In a large bowl soak noodles in hot water to cover 15 minutes, or until softened and pliable. While noodles are soaking, bring a kettle of salted water to a boil for noodles. Drain noodles in a colander and cook in boiling water, stirring 45 seconds, or until tender. Drain noodles in a colander. Set aside.

Strain broth into saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in fish sauce, salt and pepper. Add sirloin and sprouts and cook 30 to 45 seconds, or until sirloin changes color. Skim any froth from soup. To serve, divide noodles into 4 bowls. Ladle soup over noodles. Sprinkle scallion greens, cilantro, chilies and basil over soup and serve with lime wedges


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