Pho is all about fresh herbs, noodles, condiments and slurpin'.
Makes 4 large bowls
What You Need:
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 2” finger ginger, thickly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 12 cups water
- 4 pods cardamon, crushed or ¼ teaspoon ground
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 whole star anise pods
- small pinch anise seeds
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons unbleached granulaed sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- large handful dried shiitake mushrooms, optional)
- 1 ½-2 cups fresh shiitake or portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/3” thick
- protein--about 1/3 cup per bowl, bite sized
- 2-3 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
- bunch fresh basil
- bunch fresh mint
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- small bunch fresh cilantro
- 2 limes, cut in half and quartered
- hoisin sauce*, optional but tasty (I finally found a xgfx brand made by Edward and Sons under the name Premier Japan--totally worth the price)
- sriracha or red chili paste
- wheat-free tamari
- 13 oz package rice noodles (banh pho)
What You Do:
- Place the onion, garlic and ginger on a cookie sheet and broil under direct heat until lightly charred.
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the charred ingredients, the spices, sugar, salt, carrots and dried mushrooms, if using. Cover the pot and let the broth cook over medium high heat(rolling boil) for 30-45 minutes.
- While the broth is cooking, prepare the noodles as directed on your package, rinse 'em well with cold water and set aside.
- Prepare the herbs by giving 'em a good bath and drying them well. The fun part of eating Pho, is each diner gets to assemble and season their own bowls. So, you can pile "the accessories" onto one platter to be shared by the table, or arrange 'em into individual bowls for each person. Make neat but separate piles of the sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro and limes. Leave the leaves on the herbs, and let folks rip them off into their own bowls at the table.
- Strain the broth to remove all solids, rinse out the pot and return the broth. Bring back to a soft boil and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Season to taste lightly with salt.
- To serve: divide the noodles evenly between 4 deep bowls. Top with your protein choice, then fill up with broth. Let each person season their bowls to taste with freshly torn herbs, sprouts, lime juice, jalapenos, wheat-free tamari, Sriracha and hoisin sauce.
I like to eat pho with chopsticks, that spoon up there is just a prop. When the broth is reached, I just tip back the bowl and enjoy. Not sure how well this would go over in restaurants, but at home it's all the rage.