Sunday, February 28, 2010

Phở Bò Tái

Eating Phở is fun - it is such an experience! I love getting that steaming bowl of noodles and beef slices swimming in a fragrant, savory broth, finding that perfect balance of toppings to make the flavors really pop. Add in fixins lime, bean sprouts, scallions, basil, hoisin sauce, and fresh jalapenos (for my husband...) and a delicious feast is born. Eating homemade pho is an even better experience, because after just a few hours of work, you get to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

1 ginger root
1 onion, peeled
smidgen fennel seeds
dash coriander seeds
1 cardamom pod
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise pods
14 cups water
2 lbs beef shank
1 lb oxtail
1 teaspoon salt
2 anchovy fillets
2 shitake mushrooms
1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 lb rice vermicelli noodles

Thai basil
limes, quartered
bean sprouts
hoisin sauce

Broil ginger and onion until charred. Toast fennel, coriander, cardamom, and clove for 2 minutes, or until they start to become fragrant. Make a bouquet garni with cheese cloth - place the toasted spices, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and star anise pods in the cheese cloth and wrap. Tie with kitchen twine. Bring water, beef shank, and oxtail to a boil, skimming off foam as necessary. Add charred ginger, onion, bouquet garni, teaspoon salt, shitake mushrooms, and anchovy fillets. Simmer for two hours. Strain the stock, and place the liquid over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon each of sugar, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Cook noodles for 5-7 minutes in boiling water. In individual bowls, add some cooked noodles, sliced beef, and onion slices, and pour stock. Beef will cook in the hot broth. Garnish with toppings as desired.

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