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December 2013 - Recipe
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Winter Weekend Recipe

Editor’s Note—This is a new series for our newsletter, send us the most delicious and nutritious recipes that you love to feed yourself or your family and we will share them!

UnPHOgettable Soup
Submitted by: Patricia Daza-Luu

This recipe comes from my husband’s aunt, an incredible woman, a boat person, and the best Vietnamese cook in the world (in my humble opinion).  Last Christmas, she made me this pho, gave me the recipe, and also told me in detail her incredible story of coming to America to escape Communism.  This recipe not only reminds me of the holidays, but of how incredibly blessed all of us are to be living, working, and thriving in Los Angeles. 

UnPHOgettable Soup (up to 20 servings):

Ingredient List for Broth:
1.Any kind of beef: beef chuck, oxtail, round bottom, brisket suggested.  (1 lb)
2.Beef bones - any kind (leg, knuckle, anything with good bit of marrow).  (5-6 lbs).
3.Pho Spice Kit (typically comes in a small packet containing the following: coriander seeds, whole cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel).  You can buy all these spices separately and put into a large mesh bag/teabag for leaving in broth and later removal.
4.1 Whole White or Brown Onion (substitute: shallots)
5.2 Whole Ginger roots
6.Half Rice Bowl Sugar (almost half cup)
7.Quarter Rice Bowl Salt (almost quarter cup)
8.Quarter Rice Bowl MSG (almost quarter cup)

Ingredients List for Garnish:
1.Pho Noodles – Rice Stick Noodles.  Buy from any Vietnamese/Asian market.  Buy the fresh kind if possible (Banh Pho Tuoi).  Otherwise, buy the dried kind.
2.1 bunch Cilantro
3.2 bunches Green Onion
4.1 bunch Vietnamese/Thai basil 
5.Sliced Lime/lemon
6.Bean Sprouts
8.Ground black pepper
9.Sriracha hot sauce
10.Hoisin Sauce
11.Fish Sauce

Make the Broth:

1.Clean all meat under cold water and put in pot.  The rule is to use enough meat to fill about HALF the pot you will use.  If big pieces of meat cut in half or thirds before you add it to pot.
2.Peel outer part of one white or brown onion and put it in pot.
3.Cut each ginger root into 3/4 pieces and put in pot.
4.Add Half Rice Bowl Sugar.
5.Add Quarter Rice Bowl Salt.
6.Add Quarter Rice Bowl MSG.
7.Fill pot now with cold water almost to brim (leave one inch) and bring to boil.
8.Skim out scum as starts to boil and after boiling.  Don’t worry about wasting water during this process as the broth is not yet sweetened from meat, etc.
9.Once boiling continue to skim out scum and add more cold water.  Do this two or three times to get a nice clear broth.  
10.Once you get fairly clear broth, add the spice bags and turn to low – medium low and simmer for 3-5 hours or more. 
11.Take Beef Chuck and bottom out of pot after 1.5 to 2 hours or until just tender.  Do not overcook.   Let sit and cool.  Slice into thin slices to add to pho bowl when ready to serve.  Oxtail can be left in the whole time..never take the oxtail out and just serve when creatingthe pho bowl.  Brisket takes longer to cook than other meats.  

Prepare the Garnish:
NOTE: Prepare any time while making broth or even a day before.
1.Chop cilantro and put in bowl.
2.Slice all green onion into SLIVERS (for presentation) and put into a bowl.
3.Thinly slice white onion into semicircles and put into bowl.
4.Mix all above ingredient together.

Prepare the Bowl:
1.Boil a pot of water to boil pho noodles.
2.Boil the noodles right when you want to serve for 15-20 seconds using mesh strainer over a pot of boiling water.  The rule is to add enough dried pho noodles to fill the bowl you will serve in.  Once boiled this will be the right amount of noodle.
3.Add boiled noodle to serving bowl.
4.Add cilantro/onion garnish.
5.Add dash of ground black pepper.
6.Add meat slices/pieces
7.Add dash of fish sauce/nuoc mam
8.Fill Bowl with broth (and oxtail if guest wants it)

Have on table when serve pho:

1.Plates of basil, sliced lime, bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos
2.Bottle of sriracha hot sauce
3.Bottle of hoisin 

Helpful Tips:

-Charring onion and ginger adds flavor.  Put the ginger and onion halves on a greased baking sheet and place the sheet under the broiler, about 3 inches below the flame. Char the ginger and onion until they're lightly blackened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn them over halfway through cooking. When they're cool enough to handle, rinse the onion and ginger under cold running water, using a knife to scrape away some of the charred surface. Cut the ginger into 3 pieces and add it and the onion halves to the simmering broth.

-Can use very fine mesh strainer designed just for scum.

-Take out and add more water if salty etc..  Adjust seasonings to your taste by adding more sugar, salt.

-Slice premium cuts of beef and add to bowl right before you add the broth.  (new York steak, tenderloin, prime rib, etc).  It helps to put meat in freezer for 15 minutes before you slice.

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