How to make pho at home

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Noodle soups are the ultimate comfort food and there’s probably none more popular right now than pho. 

Pho (rhymes with ‘duh’, not ‘go’), is actually a more recent addition to Vietnamese cuisine. There are two parts to making pho: one for the stock (beef and vegetarian) and the second for the noodles and finished soup. 

Sang Kim breaks down how you can make this bowl of comfort food at home in the recipes below. 

Beef Pho
WHAT YOU NEED:
  • 5 lb of beef bones (oxtail or knuckle or leg)
  • 5 litres of water
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 2 large nubs of ginger, halved lengthwise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 T refined white sugar
  • 1 pack dried rice noodles
  • ½ lb flank, slicked thinly as possible (freeze for ½ hour prior to slicing to make it easier to cut)
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • 2 chile peppers sliced
  • 2 handfuls of bean sprouts, mint, basil, cilantro
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha hot sauce

WHAT YOU DO:
For the soup stock
  1. Char ginger and onions on baking sheet on high. Brush a bit of cooking oil on the cut sides. 12 minutes.
  2. Fill a large pot (ideally 10 litre capacity) with cool water. Bring to a boil. Keep heat on high.
  3. Parboil beef bones for 10 minutes. Drain the pot, let the bones rest to cool. 
  4. Refill pot with 5 litres of cool water and add the parboiled bones. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer.
  5.  Add onion, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, salt, fish sauce, sugar. Simmer on low covered for 5 hours
  6. Remove meat and set aside
  7. Strain the broth into another pot or sauce pan. Set aside.

For the noodles and finished soup
  1. Place noodles in a large bowl filled with room temperature water and soak for 1 hour.
  2. When ready to serve, place the noodles in boiling water for 1 minute. 
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer.
  4. Line up soup bowls and fill each bowl with rice noodles and flank slices.
  5. Ladle soup into each bowl. 
  6. Garnish with lime wedge, bean sprouts, mint, basil.
  7. Use hoisin and Sriracha hot sauce as dipping condiments.

Vegetarian Pho
WHAT YOU NEED:
  • 6 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
  • 5 litres of water
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 2 large nubs of ginger, halved lengthwise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 T refined white sugar
  • 1 pack dried rice noodles
  • 18oz pack baked tofu, thinly sliced
  • 2 med carrots, julienned 
  • 1 pack cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • 2 chile peppers sliced
  • 2 handfuls of bean sprouts, mint, basil, cilantro
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha hot sauce

WHAT YOU DO:
For the soup stock
  1. Char ginger, onions,  garlic on baking sheet on high. Brush a bit of cooking oil on the cut sides. 12 minutes.
  2. Fill pot with 5 litres of cool water, vegetable broth, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, onions, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, salt, sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer, covered for 1 hour.
  3. Strain the broth into another pot or sauce pan. Discard solids.

For the noodles and finished soup
  1. Place noodles in a large bowl filled with room temperature water and soak for 1 hour.
  2. When ready to serve, place the noodles in boiling water for 1 minute. 
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer.
  4. Line up soup bowls and fill each bowl with rice noodles and cremini mushrooms, carrots, tofu.
  5. Ladle soup into each bowl. 
  6. Garnish with lime wedge, bean sprouts, mint, basil.
  7. Use hoisin and Sriracha hot sauce as dipping condiments.

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