Sunday, 17 March 2013

Beef Pho

 Beef Pho (pronounced Fur) is undeniably the national dish of Vietnam, it consists of a beef broth heavily flavoured in cinnamon, star anise, cloves and various herbs. Pho derives from the french dish Pot-au-feu that similarly is a beef broth based dish. Pho itself is a delicious dish but the accompaniments skyrocket this humble dish into the gastronomic atmosphere. Before I travel to a country I like to research the country in depth, culinary speaking of course, so that I know what is authentic, and I know where is the best places to find these dishes, this may have landed me in trouble a few times, and yes I have had food poisoning more times than I care to remember but I would not change my ethos, no pain to gain right? Pho Came as a total surprise to me because at face value it is noodles in what looks like beef stock with a few slices of beef to go with, but it is so much more than that, the beef broth itself packs such a huge flavour punch that it makes eating healthily seem like a glutenous binge. 
 The beauty about South East Asian food is that they always serve their meals with an insane amount of condiments so that you can adapt your food to your palate, in Vietnam they raise the bar on its neighbouring countries by serving a huge bowl full of fresh herbs to add into your Pho, making it taste like a really good noodle soup on steroids. I know that not everybody has the time to make the beef broth as it is a long drawn out process so I have come up with a way simplify the Pho without compromising on flavour, it is addictive I assure you.

You will need:
1000ml of water
2 beef stock cubes (know stock pots)
200g of steak (flat iron or denver works well)
1 large cassia stick
4 whole star anise
4 cloves
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp of dark soy
3 tbsp of sugar
5 crushed white peppercorns
2 tsp of maldon salt
1 clove of sliced garlic
125g of pho noodles white are rice stick noodles
a small handful of bean sprouts per bowl of soup
fresh herbs such as coriander, mint, dill and Thai sweet basil
lime wedges
Finely sliced white onion
dried crushed birds eye chillies
a small amount of sugar on the side as a condiment
fresh birds eye chillies steeped in fish sauce

Firstly place the noodles in a bowl  and cover them with boiling water, set aside to soften.
Bring the water and stock cubes to the boil, add the cassia, star anise, cloves, sesame oil, soy, sugar, garlic, salt and peppercorns. 
Turn down to a slow simmer for at least fifteen minutes so that the flavours can infuse. 
 Finely slice your steak. Drain the noodles and divide the noodles between four bowls, place a few slices of the steak on top because the  hot stock will cook it. Ladle over the hot stock so that the meat is submerged, top with the onion, bean sprouts and fresh herbs and chili if you wish. Be warned the broth is very hot!!

No comments: