November 25, 2010

What The Pho!

Happy Thanksgiving

 As there are no family around this year I am at liberty to cook whatever I want for Thanksgiving dinner. I don't like turkey at all, and for that matter most of the traditional dishes that accompany the Thanksgiving feast are not at the top of my list of favorite foods. I do like Yams though. O.K. so.......what to cook? I decided to make Pho ( pronounced fuh ) Pho is Vietnam's national dish. A big steaming bowl of rice noodles, with either chicken or beef, swimming in a broth made from your meat bones of choice, onions, star anise, cinnamon stick, ginger, sugar, salt, fish sauce and black pepper corns. After the broth has simmered for hours the noodles get topped with mung bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, lime, green onions, hoisen sauce and saracha (hot sauce) and a generous quantity of the broth. I love this stuff, so much better than pho-king turkey and the like.

By the way, there is no tea that I know of that can compete with the pungent flavors of this soup, so don't even waste your time or tea. If you have never had Pho before, and you like this kind of stuff, it's very easy to make and quite affordable. And it's fairly healthy, lean meats, rice noodles and spices and herbs. But it's best to wait a few hours before breaking out your tea and tea gear because after eating this soup your tea will be completely tasteless.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Bret.

    That bowl of Pho Looks mighty tasty! I'm also a Pho lover (although vegetarian only for me but luckily that's not too hard to find here in Seattle).

    All my life it never occurred to me to take broth seriously. But one day, a few years ago, I dined with a Taiwanese friend who just went on and on about his broth (he was by no means a vegetarian, but he reluctantly went out of his way for me). In fact he was so passionate about broth that I just got swept up and decided then-and-there to also "consider myself a broth man!"

  2. Hey Brett,

    You know, Ive been wondering how to make a really good vegetarian broth for Pho. It seems as though you would have to omit some key ingredients, fish sauce being the most important. How do you make a broth for Pho and still get it to taste authentic?

    Whats up in the world of tea? Ive been laying kinda low lately, drinking the same old teas Ive had around for a while now.

    Have a great day!

  3. I don't really have a set recipe for vegetarian Pho broth. I usually just mess around and it tastes different each time (and probably not very "authentic") but basically I'll make something like this Shiitake Mushroom Stock (here is the recipe on my wife's blog but I will also add a whole star anise, a cinnamon stick and some chopped up ginger root.

    I am also not really sure what's up in the world of tea. My personal tea journey is still going well but I've been laying low too and have been spending more time pursuing emerging domestic interests such as Waldorf education and home improvement.

  4. This is wonderful; this is the sort of thing I'd do. Pho is one of my favorite foods!

    I was inspired by Pho to start adding cilantro (and later, Culantro or Recao, a plant native to the Americas, which I find I like much better) to fresh soups.

  5. Howdy Alex,

    Sounds like you have been doing a little experimenting with your pho broths. I fell in love with pho years and years ago. There was a French bakery next door to my house that was owned by a Vietnamese couple. They always had a big pot of soup in the back of the kitchen for the family. I would eat there almost everyday, pho (always chicken) spring rolls, pork chop plate that always came with a fried egg. In time I became part of the family and the wife would call me to tell me that "my noodle ready now" you come eat.

    Anyways, that was my introduction to pho. I have learned that when making a chicken stock you need to tone down the spices a bit though, you still want the primary flavor to be chicken. Now with beef, you can be more liberal with the spice because the strength of the stock can stand up to it.

    And as a matter of fact...pho is whats for dinner tonight as well.

    Thanks for reading Alex.