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Pho-nomenal Pho Phrom Scratch

March 22, 2011

This weekend I went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, to attend the Ag Mechanics show (I went last year and blogged about it), but mainly to introduce the family to Boyfriend.

Me and my Cowboy

It went swimmingly well, given the fact that Boyfriend grew up in the country and can speak countryfolk talk, but while at the rodeo, I picked up some kind of tummy bug and was under the weather for a couple of days.

After wallowing in misery, yesterday I decided that what I really needed was one of my all-time favorite feel better foods: Pho.

Just looking at this bowl warms the cockles of my heart.

Pho, pronounced “fuh,” is a Vietnamese dish typically featuring boiling-hot beef broth, rice noodles, and thinly sliced raw beef. Garnishes include basil, Thai basil, mint, cilantro, bean sprouts, green onions, and a variety of crunchy and salty bits. There are tons of different types of pho, ranging from tripe, chicken, and seafood, to pork and tofu.

I’d never made pho from scratch before, and given that Boyfriend loves cooking as much as I do (and is a student and therefore home to take care of me on my day off), we decided a trip to the Asian market and an afternoon of pho-making was just what the doctor ordered.

I love shopping at Asian markets

Asian markets are so cool – so many products I’ve never heard of, or even considered eating, presented in brightly colored packages that remind me of psychadelic candy. Even the sugar aisle is awesome:

Which sugar do I pick??

Way more fun than the boring sugar aisle at HEB.

Anyways, back to the pho: to start the dish, you make a beef broth, first parboiling beef bones, and then simmering them with some charred onions and ginger, along with a variety of spices. The recipe I used came highly recommended from Steamy Kitchen, and when followed properly (I forgot the salt for the first 3 hours of cooking…) yields delicious results.

Parboiled beef bones, being rinsed.

Charred onions and ginger

Some interesting spices: see below

The spices incorporated in pho broth are fascinating: star anise (looks like a starfish), coriander seeds (little round ones), fennel seeds (oval pointy ones), a cardamom pod (looks like a peach pit), a stick of cinnamon, and a chunk of…rock sugar! Yellow rock sugar! How random!?

Other ingredients:

Fish sauce

This stuff smells DISGUSTING but adds a tremendously complex flavor.

So there’s charring, boiling, and then? Pouring!

Immediately after this photo I have one of Matt after burning himself with the boiling broth. Yes, we are a match made in burny-hand heaven.

Finally? At long last?

We eats it!!!

Don’t worry…Mater got some nibblies too.

Ha. Such a cutie.

So. How long did it take us to make the pho? About six hours, all told. How long did it take us to eat the pho? Twelve minutes. 🙂

Go phorth and pho. It’s phonomenal. Pho sure.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Moorman permalink
    March 22, 2011 2:10 pm

    Pho-eey, a cheeseburger is comfort food and it doesn’t smell DISGUSTING!

    As for the swimmingly thing – we’ll see…..

    Glad you are feeling better though.

  2. March 22, 2011 2:28 pm

    A blog post! Yay! I have been secretly stalking you through all of your virtual personas, and I was missing the blog-writing one. Glad you are feeling better. Glad that the pho was photastic. AND… SO GLAD that Boyfriend both speaks countryfolk AND cooks. Seriously, they don’t make them like that up here in the north (well, not in DC at least. But of course we know taht they do in Michigan). Anyway, I’m happy for you!!

  3. March 24, 2011 8:58 am

    wow, Dad. Way to leave a comment! haha

    pho is soooo my favorite get-better soup too :). like chicken noodle soup, but with real ingredients (yes, i tend towards lipton)!

    so great to see you liis and meet the guy! hope it’s not forever and a day until next time.

    p.s. what happened to your camera quality? hope you’re not skimping and using an iPhone for blog photos. tsk. tsk.

  4. March 24, 2011 8:58 am

    or maybe i should have said..

    phor shame…


  5. April 27, 2011 7:34 pm

    WOW LISA! I AM IMPRESSED! I am Vietnamese and have STILL never made pho before! Thanks for getting the pronounciation correct too! All I have to say is it looks like you made it PRETTY close to how my mom makes. The only change or suggestion I’d make is to use charred shallots instead of onions. I’m sure it tastes similar but I think shallots give it a special touch. You go!

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