I had my first bowl of pho a couple of months ago and I am hooked.
It is a huge bowl of clear broth with rice noodles, carrots, peppers, baby corn, celery, bok chow, spinach, sliced water chestnuts peapods and small pieces of broccoli. Everything should be raw and bite size or smaller.
I have used frozen mixed vegetables that I defrost in the microwave before I put it into the broth. They are not as crunchy.
Usually I use two cups of the mixed vegetables in every bowl.
Chop up extra and use it for a salad tomorrow.
Then you can slice paper-thin beef, cooked shredded chicken or cooked shrimp.
You can also mix up the meat and have a little or everything.
The SECRET is the PIPING HOT BROTH. This is so important because everything is going to cook in this broth.
You can use a beef, chicken or vegetable broth but try to use the low sodium. Or else you can make your own.
The original pho broth has fish sauce and some of my children are allergic to it so I have gone with a modified broth.
I start with one large can of broth and doctor it up with three slices of ginger, one star anise and 1 teaspoon of fresh cilantro. You can start adding a ton of other spices but I like it simple and easy.
Bring this to a boil and remove the ginger and anise before serving.
I put two to three cups in every bowl.
The cooked rice noodles are added now. Any thin noodle is great but precook them. Add about 1 cup for every bowl.
Then all the sliced vegetables are put into the broth and they stay crunchy because they aren’t cooked on the stove.
You can add your chicken,shrimp or steak. Only five or six pieces of meat are necessary.
Serve this with a plate of fresh bean sprouts, fresh thai basil leaves, wedges of lime,fresh mint and cilantro, chopped Thai peppers or jalapeno and thin scallion slices.
On the side you serve a medley of sauces like sriracha, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce and hoisin sauce.
You can put small dots of sauce in the soup for different flavors.
Don’t mix the sauces all together or else you lose the true soup flavor. It’s like dipping french fries in ketchup. If you put the ketchup on top you lose the potato flavor.
Crunchy spring roll are delicious with this but add a ton of calories.
I use my vegetable serving bowls for the soup because it looks so impressive.
Use chop stick and asian soup spoons for utensils.
Now this is a way to feel satisfied, special and the ever important slender.