Posted in Food adventures

So Pho, so good – Adventures in making a Vietnamese noodle soup

*Disclaimer: My skill level in cooking are amateur, maybe slightly above a college student’s…maybe…on a good day.*

Home-made pho
Finished product: Home-made pho with top round beef, bean sprouts, and some lime

As you may or may not know, Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is served typically at breakfast time. Traditionally, pho broth is made in a huge vat that simmers for hours on a stove and let’s be honest, an average person really just doesn’t have the time to watch the stove and make sure the kitchen doesn’t blow up.  I have very fond memories of eating pho with my family growing up and so when I was gifted with a crock pot, I thought it might be a fun idea to make some pho broth.

As I was searching around for a good recipe, I came across this lovely gem. Her pictures looked pretty and the recipe was easy to follow so I did it. I made pho broth and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Apologies for the photo quality. The lighting in my kitchen is terrible.

Step 1: Grilling the onions and ginger slices in a pan
Step 1: Grilling the onions and ginger slices in a pan
Step 2: Pre-boiling the bones to remove all the icky scum at the top
Step 2: Pre-boiling the bones to remove all the icky scum at the top
Step 3: Put the bones and grilled onions/ginger into crock pot and added water. Set up for 8 hours on low and went to bed.
Step 3: Put the bones and grilled onions/ginger into crock pot and added water. Set up for 8 hours on low and went to bed.

Instead of gathering all the necessary spices for the pho broth and since this was my first time making it, I decided to buy the pre-packaged spices (yes, full of msg) sold at most Asian supermarkets. They offer the beef version as well as pho ga, which is the chicken broth version. I went with the beef version.

Condensed msg in a box. 4 cubes in a box. 1 cube per 0.5 liters.
Condensed msg in a box. 4 cubes in a box. 1 cube per 0.5 liters.

I purchased the rice noodles from 99 Ranch and I’m sure you could find them in any Asian supermarket. Overall, I am happy with the results and would definitely make it again. There are a few things to try differently next time though. The broth was definitely fatty. You could see the fat at the top of the broth. To get more of a cleaner tasting broth, I would definitely suggest refrigerating the broth and then removing the fat layer. I’d also definitely try gathering all the spices suggested in Steamy Kitchen’s post and try making it from complete scratch.

After refrigerating the broth, there is a visible layer of fat that can be removed.
After refrigerating the broth, there is a visible layer of fat that can be removed.

This recipe gave me broth for up to 6 meals. Totally worth it.

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Author:

My name is Mai and I am a graduate student pursuing a PhD in biology. When not hard at work, I can be found training for a race, traveling the world, or talking about Disneyland.

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