Well, I had some lunch plans today. We were going to go get sushi. They got canceled. I still have my sushi craving, so decided to make some pho for lunch. Not sure how that worked as a substitute for raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed, but it did. It doesn’t matter that I am trying a new Vietnamese restaurant in Ann Arbor this eve and will likely have pho there too. I love pho. It is so fresh and tasty and it is healthy too.
I started to make pho and reached for my rice noodles – all out – how did that happen? Oh that last batch of Pad Thai. I reached for my can of broth and whoops, all out of that too. So I improvised. I had plenty of mint and Thai basil in the garden, plenty of cilantro in the fridge (I can’t grow enough to keep me happy, so I buy it) and plenty of little onions from my brother’s garden. I decided to use a combo of chicken and beef stock base – you know the paste stuff and throw in some fish sauce, red chile, green chile, a stick of cinnamon and one piece of star anise. Oh and some shredded carrot I had, just because I had it, it doesn’t go in pho. I completely forgot about bean sprouts, so at least the carrots had some crunch. I barely thawed a small piece of frozen sirloin steak that I had in the freezer (I keep some stocked just for pho emergencies) and sliced it wafer thin. Tossed into the bowl chopped green onion, raw white onion sliced paper thin, mint, cilantro and Thai basil and squeezed a big lime over it. Instead of noodles, I just made a small pot of rice, since they are rice noodles anyway. My Korean soups always come with noodles and a side of rice, so, I thought I would try it.
The result? Very tasty and didn’t require a trip to the store. Truth be known, I was hungry and should have let the rice cook just one more minute, other than that, a terrific substitute. I always add a dash of roasted sesame oil to give a nutty richness. The meat is super tender (freezing helps with that) and juicy and barely cooked. My nose is running from the green and red chiles. Just how I like it. Cold sweats from heat. I will post a pic, but with the rice, it is not as picturesque as it could be.
Gluten free goodness.
I recently tried making a batch of pho broth. I bought pounds of meat bones and cooked them down for a day or two along with anise, onion and cinnamon and garlic. It turned out nice, but is a lot of work and still doesn’t have a big brothy flavor. Maybe a bit of, horror, MSG would help get that umame-ness.
Must pho-nish my pho now.