Sunday, February 18, 2007
Pho - Mach I
I just couldn't wait to spin up some Pho in the kitchen.
I did cheat too. I used 'Superior Touch "Better than Buillion" Beef Base'. It is a fabulous product for us people with small kitchens if used correctly. Not too much. Heavy handedness just won't do it. The broth is important because it's the base for the soup, the backbone if you will. I used 1 tsp beef paste per pint of hot water. I reckoned about 3/4 pint per soup portion, so 1.5 tsp of paste.
To this I added a tablespoon of fish sauce, about half a thumb of thinly sliced ginger, a really good pinch of dried pepper flakes as the local boy had let me down and I couldn't get fresh red chili, five spice powder (in the absence of star anise and cinnamon sticks) and a few black peppercorns. I thinly sliced a bison steak, enough for 2. D'Agostino's didn't have a decent beef fillet and this was an interesting substitute. My first time in fact. I shoved it in the freezer for a bit to firm it up to make thin slicing a cinch. D'Ag's didn't have plain Chinese noodles either (!) so I bought some Top Ramen noodles and threw the sachet away. (1 TR noodle pack pp.) So that's the main ingredients of the soup. Bring the stock to the boil, add aromatics, reduce heat and let it simmer for 20. Strain. I chucked the noodles for the soup into boiling water and let them cook, about 8 mins. I drained and added them to the strained stock.
While that was cooking I got all my garnish together. Beansprouts, fresh basil, coriander, lime wedges, fish sauce, sliced onions and scallions, pepper flakes, radish for colour and I had some leftover cooked bok choi in the fridge.
Now for the assembly. Follow closely. It should only take you 23 seconds. Put the cooked greens if using into the bottom of the bowl. Add noodles. Ladle your simmering stock into the bowl and drop the thinly sliced bison or beef into that. It should cook pretty quickly. Grab some fish sauce and add a few drops, a small handful of sprouts, onion, basil and coriander, radish, a lime wedge and a few pepper flakes on top. And that's it. The Mrs said it was delicious.