Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pho


Yay for Twitter foodie friends!

I never would have imagined making pho if it hadn't been for this great post by Wandering Chopsticks:

http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com/2007/03/pho-bo-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup.html

I won't post a recipe here, since WC really covered it all and has gorgeous photos to boot. (Check out the clove-studded onion roasted over flame!)

This dish was a special treat as it was a bit of a departure from local food. That's the nice thing about modern-day "homesteading" I guess. We can live mainly sustainably, but are free to engage in luxuries like Netflix and buying exotic foods from far away. Having an appreciation for resource use makes even little things like hot showers a special treat.

At least the meat was purchased at Mill Valley from a local small farm. Since I was boiling marrow bones for quite some time, I wanted to make sure the bones came from high quality animals.


The best part about foodmaking projects is learning the intricacies of why food tastes the way it does. You can learn a lot about what plants and animals are common in each country or during each season just by making a single dish.

I always knew that pho broth had a special flavor, but had no idea of the unique blend of spices: star anise, cinnamon, coriander seeds, garlic, ginger, and cloves. Wow.

Special tip: heating the spices in a hot pan for a few minutes releases the essential oils and enhances their taste. Take care not to burn the spice. You'll know they're ready when they start to pop!


A big part of making broth is skimming off the foam and fat that skim to the surface. If you've ever read Thomas Keller, you'll know how important this is for a good stock texture.

You can see the stock bones better in this photo too. When I tasted the broth, I got a little panicked because it tasted really bland.

I definitely learned how magical salt can be! I added about two teaspoons of salt, plus about a quarter cup of fish sauce. Much better.


Although this meal was a definite production, it was a very special meal worth sharing with friends.


After one meal with E & P, I have enough for lunch today and another meal for friends who I also promised homemade pho. Definitely a great social food.

I even bought an additional top round to add to the pho, but there was so much meat on the stock bones, I didn't even need it. Maybe I'll just save it, since I have a pheeling I'll be making more Vietnamese soon.

http://www.angryasiancreations.com/ is another Twitter foodie friend. DM me if you want to be included in this list!

3 comments:

Angry Asian said...

what a wonderful job you did Aliza! i am so impressed that you did this and such great success. i'm so jealous, i *still* haven't attempted this dish yet. :)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Great job. Thanks for trying my recipe. :)

For some reason, I had though you were trying the Crock Pot pho recipe?

bittersweetblog said...

I've actually never had pho- It sure is hard to find a meatless version! I didn't think about making it at home though... Perhaps I'll have to go that route too. Thanks for the inspiration!

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