Vietnemese Beef Noodle Soup (pho bo)

Discussion in 'Geek Recipes' started by username_taken, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. username_taken

    username_taken Member

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    Vietnemese Beef Noodle Soup (pho bo)

    On my todo list for a long time as been a proper meaty stock. I had lined up the ingredients to make a large veal stock, but unfortunately the necessary veal shins fell through ( apparently they chop the legs off the calves at birth so they stack better in the barn ). In a slump I searched around on the net for something to make in it's place and came across a few pho recipes.

    I took this as divine ( as far as stumbling across something on google can be described as such ) intervention and headed down to the supermarket to get some ingredients. Ordinarily I'll go to a good quality butcher to get my meats, but seeing as I was just getting mostly bones, I decided supermarket food would be fine.

    The Pho base stock takes about 3 hours, and I was pretty happy with the end result, although the spices ( star anise especially ) didn't really shine through as much as I'd hoped, I might toast them first next time. Adding the herbs and chilli etc from the garnish plate added plenty of character to the soup. I got about 3.5 litres of stock in the end, so a couple of litres are destined for the freezer.

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    Pho Stock

    2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound total)
    4-inch piece ginger (about 4 ounces)
    2.5 kg beef soup bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
    1.5 kg chicken necks
    5 star anise
    6 whole cloves
    handful of garlic shoots ( optional )

    3-inch cinnamon stick
    500g diced beef
    1 1/2 tablespoons salt
    4 tablespoons fish sauce
    4 tablespoons of brown sugar

    Put your bones and chicken necks into a stockpot ( 12 litre pot minimum ) cover them with water and bring to a boil, after a few minutes of fast boiling tip out into the sink and wash the meats in warm water. This helps get rid of any grit and gross bits. Give the pot a quick wipe out, and put the bones/necks back in the pot.

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    While doing the above dice the onion and slice the garlic, put in a pan over a low heat to soften, but try not to let it colour too much. Stir occasionally. when softened turn off the heat and throw all the non-meat ingredients on top.

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    Add 6 litres of water to the stockpot and bring back to the boil. After a few short minutes of boiling turn the heat right down to a slow simmer. Add in the diced beef and simmer for a few minutes.

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    Now add in the rest of the ingredients from the pan to the stock and give it a stir. Simmer for about 1.5 hours, check every 15 minutes to adjust heat if necessary and remove any scum.

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    At this stage you can remove the diced beef and put into cold water to chill, and then into the fridge. This can be used in the pho when it's served. I had a hard time finding the meat chunks so didn't worry about this step.

    Continue cooking the stock for another 1.5 hours. ( spend this time productively annoying your pets ) Remove the bones and necks from the stock using large tongs. Feel free to suck the left over marrow out of the bones with a straw ( yum! ) or even scoop them out into the stock so as not to waste it.

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    Strain the soup through a fine strainer to remove any left over solids, and hopefully filter out any grit. If your strainer isn't fine enough, you can try to use a paper coffee filter inside it.

    Let the stock cool to room temperature and then refridgerate overnight.

    The next day, there should be a solid layer of fat on the top of the stock, this should be scooped out with a spoon. Underneath should be a nice gelatinous thick stock. Pour this into a stockpot and bring to the boil again, strain again.

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    Let the stock cool the room temperature and refrigerate/freeze as suits your needs.

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    Vietnemese Beef Noodle Soup (pho bo)

    This is assuming you're using all of the above stock, should give enough for 8 decent bowls. Divide it as many times as necessary to suit the number of people you're cooking for.

    Pho stock, from above.
    800g small dried or fresh banh pho noodles ("rice sticks'' or Thai chantaboon)
    500g raw eye of round, sirloin, or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)
    100g dried shitake mushrooms
    1 medium yellow onion, sliced paper-thin, left to soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water
    3 or 4 spring onions, green part only, cut into thin rings
    1/3 cup chopped coriander (ngo)
    Ground black pepper
    Sprigs of mint (hung lui) and Asian/Thai basil (hung que)
    Bean sprouts (about 1/2 pound)
    Red hot chiles (such as Thai bird ), thinly sliced
    Lime wedges

    Bring the stock up to a steady simmer. In another pot simmer your noodles and mushrooms for a few minutes. Taste the stock and adjust the seasoning with salt/pepper/fish sauce/sugar.

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    While simmering, prepare the rest of the ingredients onto a garnish plate.

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    Pour the stock into bowls and add a portion of the noodle/mushroom mix ( drained ) to each bowl. Bring to the table immediately. You can add the beef at this stage too, or let the people eating do it themselves at the table. The heat of the soup is hot enough to cook the thin beef in a few short minutes.

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    Each participant can then use the garnishes to customize their pho to how they like it. Make sure they actually do use the garnishes as they do add plenty of character to the Pho.

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  2. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Looks yummy UT ... how does this compare to Viet restaurants?
     
  3. OP
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    username_taken

    username_taken Member

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    It was as good as any Pho I've found at vietnemses restaurants around brisbane, but my understanding is that it's very hard to get a good pho in brisbane. Probably a long way behind a decent viet chef with their little secret spices ( found one recipe that uses dried sandworm, food safari, sbs ). The good thing about the internet is that you can find some pretty authentic good quality recipes for pretty much anything, just have to know how to spot and avoid the garbage.
     
  4. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Yes, I saw that food safari show you mentioned :) I was looking through your ingredients list and thinking to myself "where is the dried sandworm ..."

    In any case, pho is so cheap. For $8 a bowl it's easier for me to eat at the Viet restaurant. I only try to learn how to cook stuff that I can't afford to eat :)
     
  5. scon

    scon Member

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    Ya serious? That's crazy! I personally try to just cook everything I can lay my hands on. But I'm abit of a cooking slut. I often just try and make something just to see if i can! Oftentimes, it ends up that what I'm cooking costs more than buying it off someone else, but then i know how to make it whenever the need strikes me.
     
  6. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Well I do have a whole bunch of recipes for quick and easy meals when I would rather eat at home than eat out. But i'm a really lame cook, I need to practice and practice before dishes come out right.

    Come to think of it, this Pho recipe does look very easy - once you have the stock it will take no time at all to throw a meal together. Hmm, maybe I will give it a try after all.
     
  7. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    I love this dish but i do remember some places have the beef sliced a bit thinner than pictured. And everytime I've had it the meat was partially raw and you had to add lemon juice to it to cook the meat through.
     
  8. OP
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    username_taken

    username_taken Member

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    Yeah the meat wasn't sliced as thin as I'd have liked, got a bit lazy. Was raw when I put it in the soup right at the end and was cooked within a minute so was all good.
     
  9. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    I would have used the sliced beef used for chinese steam boat.
     
  10. mrpham

    mrpham Member

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    That looks yum as!

    When my mum makes it at home she uses the fresh noodles, you can find them at most asian grocery stores.

    For good/decent Pho in Brisbane, I usually go with Trang's in West End or this small shop near Darra train station.

    Bit off topic, but anyone know where to buy broken rice? Would love to make Com Tam at home.
     
  11. Mr_LeE

    Mr_LeE Member

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  12. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    it's probably the only thing I will order when at a vietnamese pho place...ever!
     
  13. stmok

    stmok Member

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    username_taken, I want to thank you for this thread!

    You're missing out dude.

    There's "buong" (rice noodle without soup. But with lettuce, orion, etc) and its variations. I like the spring roll one.

    And "sarm sick farn" (some rice, pork dish my sister likes to eat).
     
  14. scon

    scon Member

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    Amfibius... if you're a shit cook, then you must be a FANTASTIC photographer/stylist!

    Looking good username_taken, I've got a recipe for this that I'm keen to try from the guy that runs the red lantern restaurant down in Sydney... I'll have to try it. I'm moving house this weekend, and wont be in a tiny unit, so I should have the opportunity to cook some more interesting things now methinks!

    I think alot of the recipes that I've heard ask you to char the ginger on a gas burner before using it in the stock, you ever come across something like that?
     
  15. khangu

    khangu Member

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    They usually would grill the whole onion and ginger to bring out the 'sweetness' when used in the soup.

    Also, they would normally wrap up all the spices like the star anise, cinnamon, whole peppercorns, cloves AND the garlic and whole onion in some cheese cloth or any cotton fabric as a spice bag so that those ingredients don't disintegrate in the soup and muck it up. Ideally, you'd want a clear soup.

    Apart from that, it all looks good.

    Also, ox tails are used to give the soup an extra punch. Lot's of flavour in those, and you can get them even at Woolies in Brisbane!

    As to the garnish, the good restaurants would give you some mexican coriander, thai basil, raw bean sprouts, fresh chilli, some lime, Hoisin sauce and Fish sauce to go into the noodle. The average ones would skip the mexican coriander.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  16. Majikthise

    Majikthise Member

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    What? As if you'd put hoi sin in pho. That's like putting soy sauce on your pie.

    Any way, I've been meaning to try this. I'd want to spend a long time trying to find a really authentic recipe though, because all the pho I've had at restaurants in Australia has been pretty dissapointing. Used to like it, but now that I've been to Vietnam and had the real stuff, Aussie pho just doesn't cut it. Seriously, in Vietnam (particularly Hanoi), you can get the most AMAZING pho ever. They also stick the raw meat in and let the soup cook it (it was so thin that in the time it took to get my bowl and walk to the table five steps away it had cooked). The best place I went to had this gigantic cauldron of the broth and some cooks slicing beef. Massive queue of locals, knew it was the best place around pretty quickly.
     
  17. Mr_LeE

    Mr_LeE Member

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    Is there something wrong with hoi sin sauce in your pho?

    I assure you, 99% of all pho resturants have hoi sin sauce as an additional extra with your pho dish.

    And IMO, soy sauce on a pie is wrong.

    I wouldnt do that.
     
  18. mrpham

    mrpham Member

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    hoisin and pickeled onions is a must!

    that mexican coriander is also good when it's available.
     
  19. Joseph

    Joseph Member

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    Use fresh noodles, not the dried ones:thumbup:
     
  20. dc0079

    dc0079 Member

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    It should be hoi sin and chilli sauce together, you only dip the meat in it, not pour it over the pho, it taste great.
     

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