April 17, 2010

Beef pho

This is my easy, at-home, westernized version of pho. I usually get pho at a local restaurant and decided to try my hand at making it. This recipe is pretty simple and it's really tasty. I recently read an article about pho in Smithsonian magazine. In Vietnam, the broth is quite complex and slow-cooked. I used beef stock for my broth (because I was making beef pho, but you can certainly swap it for chicken and chicken stock). As in the restaurant, pho is all about the accompaniments - chili sauce, soy bean paste, fresh basil leaves, bean sprouts, fresh lime... The recipe will make about 3-4 bowls of pho.

Beef pho
about 1 lb of sirloin, sliced into thin strips
1 package of stir-fry rice noodles
4-5 scallions, whites and greens thinly sliced (but keep them separated)
about 2-1/2 cups of beef broth
about 2 cups water
about 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
fresh basil (Thai basil is best if you can find it, otherwise sweet basil will work)
bean sprouts
lime wedges
chili sauce
soy paste

In a soup pot, begin to slowly warm the beef stock and water over medium heat. Add the whites of the scallions. Continue to heat until the broth comes to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then reduce the heat to simmer. Add the beef, scallion tops, and cilantro and stir. Continue to simmer until the noodles are soft and the beef is cooked. Ladle the soup into large bowls. Top with fresh basil leaves, bean sprouts, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Let each person add their own amount of soy paste and chili sauce to taste. 

Serve with a spoon and chopsticks.

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