Pho is the national dish of Vietnam---you'll find it everywhere from a common street pavement to a fancy restaurants. Although Pho is a simple soup served with rice noodle the numerous ingredients that are use will appeals to all the senses.
Pho has evolved quite a bit since the beginning of its creation. Before, pho was basically just boiled beef, noodles and broth. Then the raw beef version (pho bo tai) was developed and was soon follow by other recipes such as chicken pho (pho ga) and pork pho (pho lon). Although there now exist many different ways of making Pho, most people refer to the oldest and popular Pho Bo.
Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)
Pho is now becoming the most popular Asian noodle soup in the United State. The American bowls of pho are about 30 percent bigger than what's found in Vietnam.
Pho soup consists of beef broth, thin slices of beef, rice noodles, fresh basil, bean sprouts, sliced fresh jalapenos, lime juice and cilantro. There are several variations to Pho Soup. Some contain soft tendon, meatballs, beef flank and beef brisket. Some Pho Soup contains onion and mushrooms. This does affect the nutritional value of the meal as meatballs tend to have a higher fat content.
However as nutritious as pho is, it does have its bad sides. In general a bowl of Pho Bo contains an average of 367 calories and most restaurant use quite a fair amount of MSG in the broth in order to get the taste. That said Pho is still considered a fast and healthy meal comparing to other fast food such as burgers.
Below is the recipe of a typical Pho Bo that you can find in any Pho restaurant. Although simple it is the most popular among all the Pho recipes.
* 6 cups beef broth
* 1 (1/4-inch thick) slice ginger
* 2 whole star anises
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1/2 pound piece boneless beef sirloin, trimmed of any fat
* 3 ounces dried flat rice noodles
* 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
* 1/8 cup minced scallions
* 1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, washed and finely chopped
* 1 small thin fresh red or green Asian chilly, sliced very thin
* 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
* Lime wedges for garnish
Boil broth, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon in a 2 quart saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cut sirloin across the grain into very thin slices.
Soak noodles in hot water to cover 15 minutes, or until softened and pliable.
While noodles are soaking, bring salted water to a boil for noodles. Drain noodles in a colander and cook in boiling water, stirring 45 seconds, or until tender. Drain noodles and set aside.
Strain broth into saucepan and then boil. Stir in fish sauce, salt and pepper. Add sirloin and sprouts and cook 30 to 45 seconds, or until sirloin changes color. Skim any froth from soup.
A typical Pho meal with side ingredients to add in