Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vietnamese Pho

Vietnamese Pho

If you haven't eaten Vietnamese before...now is the time!  Pho is our absolute favorite Vietnamese dish, not to mention an all around favorite.  It's got a funny name but it's just so good.  I love the crunchy vegetables and the flavorful spiced broth. It makes you feel so healthy and warm!   I love how Pho is assembled.  My husband explained  after observing how he was served a noodle soup in Thailand, that the cooked noodles are placed in the bowl and then the fresh vegetables, broth goes over the top.  This method ensures that your vegetables are fresh and crunchy while the noodles soft and the hot broth comforting.  It's just such a great combination.  Perfect for cold winter nights!  You can easily make this a vegetarian Pho by omitting the sausage and adding a extra firm tofu with the fresh vegetables for a nice variation.  The Vietnamese serve Pho in a huge bowl, so my husband and I like to share a bowl when we go out.  I like to serve this in the bowls my brother sends me from Japan, it livens up the already beautiful soup for a Asian presentation!

1 pound ground sausage 
1 onion, quartered
14 cups water
14 teaspoons beef, chicken or vegetable bouillon 
1/4 cup fish sauce
4 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced into thin rounds
1 stick cinnamon
4 star anise pods
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Roll sausage into 1 inch round meatballs.  Place in large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring a few times throughout.  Drain meatballs and rinse well with running water.  Wash residue out of pot and return meatballs to pot.  Place remaining ingredients in pot with meatballs and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.  Strain broth.  You may reserve the meatballs if desired and discard remaining solids.  If you desire an even clearer broth, strain broth again through cheese.  Season broth with a little extra sugar and salt. Return meatballs to broth and bring to a simmer.

8 ounces rice noodles or bean thread noodles, thinnest possible
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1/4 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1-2 cups broccoli and cauliflower florets
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 cup fresh bean sprouts
bunch fresh cilantro
handful fresh basil
1 lime, quartered
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
Hoisin Sauce

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Turn heat off under noodles.  Have all of your vegetables cut and set aside in bowls.  To assemble a bowl of Pho, place some drained noodles in bottom of an individual bowl.  Add a big pinch of carrots, mushrooms, Napa cabbage and green onions to the noodles.  Now, ladle some simmering broth over the vegetables.  Let sit a minute of two to cool down a bit and cook the vegetables a tiny bit. Top with a generous handful of bean sprouts, fresh cilantro and fresh basil.  Serve with fresh lime and add Siriacha Chili Sauce and Hoisin Sauce as desired to individual portions of Pho.  Enjoy Pho with chop sticks and a big Asian spoon for an authentic flair.

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