Authentic Vietnamese Pho Recipe
I love Asian food.
All kinds of Asian food: Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
Something about the combination of what we consider common vegetables into new and interesting flavors tickles me. And the concept of Umami as a flavor piques my curiosity.
So, I was thrilled when a new friend, Tara Dawdy, of Cumberland County, NC, put together a Pho recipe using local, fresh ingredients.
Dawdy trained at Le Cordon Bleu and is an excellent chef. She recently joined forces with the Slow Food movement to lend her talents to supporting good, clean and fair food.
Pho is a Vietnamese soup recipe, often consumed for breakfast.
But, using ingredients she found at area farms and farmers market, Dawdy put together an excellent meal. I asked if I could share the recipe.
Here it is:
Roughly 8 servings
FOR THE BROTH:
- 5-6lbs beef bones – oxtail, neck, marrow, knuckle (if possible)
- 2 med yellow onions (about 1lb)
- 4” piece of ginger (about 4 oz)
- 5 star anise (40 star points total)
- 6 whole cloves
- 3” cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ tbsp. salt (kosher)
- 4tbsp fish sauce (available at Asian recipes)
- 1 oz. yellow rock sugar (substitute light brown)
TO START Blanch the beef bones (30-60 sec), remove and rinse with cold water and return to pot. Add about 6 q water, bring to boil. Then reduce to simmer. Use spoon to skim any scum that rises to surface. While the bones are simmering, cut onions in half, and slice the ginger. Toss in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and place on sheet pan to roast (about 325- 350), approx. hr. This process is called caramelization; it adds to the flavor of the broth. Cut off any burnt ends. Add roasted veggies and remaining spices. Simmer for an additional 2-4hrs (min 90min). Remember to continue “skimming the scum” from you pot. That will remove impurities not flavor. Add remaining ingredients; fish sauce, sugar, and salt. Once you’re ready, strain twice. First to remove bones and spices, second strain is for smaller particles. Use cheese cloth lined in strainer, this will give you the clear but flavorful broth that pho is so famous for.
FOR THE NOODLES:
Rice noodles. You can find them at any Asian market, and sometimes in your local grocery in the international isle.
DO NOT OVERCOOK. Rice noodles are quick to cook so be careful. Make sure your water is at a rolling boil, drop noodles in and let boil for about 3-5mins. You do not want mushy noodles or noodles fully cooked. Al dente, or slightly undercooked. Remove and rinse with cold water.
Grab a generous three finger pinch (about half to cup) of noodles and place in bowl. Add desired veggie toppings (traditional bean sprouts, sliced scallions, jalapenos or Thai chilies, chopped cilantro, basil, lime wedges) and pour hot broth over noodles. Add meat on top.
Note: For the meat, you can use whatever cut and variety you prefer, cooked to your liking. Traditionally speaking, this would be thin cuts — “I used sirloin tips,” Dawdy said — and flash cooked in boiling broth.
Tara said she leaves the meat cooking up to the individual.
“I found not everyone eats meat mid-rare,” she said.
Chef Tara is an Army veteran who moved to Dallas, Texas, to pursue cooking professionally after leaving the military. She attended Le Cordon Bleu there, and then graduated to worked in all “From Scratch” kitchens — where the restaurants created all of their food from whole ingredients.
She also volunteered with a veteran’s club in Dallas and received award for fund-raising efforts for Suicide prevention for veterans. She’s passionate about local food, and preparing all her meals “From Scratch.”
Since moving back to North Carolina, Chef Tara found it challenging to find a “From Scratch locally-sourced kitchen,” she said, so now she’s pursuing the dream of starting her own business in the Sandhills area.
Other passions include: Volunteering with local animal rescue — Mickeys Haven for Pit Bulls, restoring antique furniture, collecting antique kitchen utensils and cookbooks, old architecture and preservation and playing rugby with Bragg Women’s Rugby.