Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Hoffman Estates
Location: Hoffman Estates
Sportbike: '04 CBR 600RR
Years Riding: days
How you found us: youngkow's monkey ass
Phil's pho recipe
• 2 onions halved. Leave the skin and root on.
• 1 small onion for garnish
• 4 in. piece of ginger halved lengthwise. Leave skin on.
• 5-6 lbs of beef knuckle bone or a 1-2 lbs of cow tail bone in place of a 1-2 of beef knuckle
• 1-3 lbs of various combinations of meat such as brisket, flank, filet, sirloin, eye of round, tendon, tripe, Viet beef meatballs or any cut of meat that you like that you can slice almost paper thin.
• 2 gallons of water
• 1-2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
• 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
• 5-10 whole star anise
• 1-3 cardamom pods
• 6-12 whole cloves
• Mesh bag to put dried spices in or a large stainless steel mesh spice ball
• 1-3 tablespoons of salt
• 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
• ¼-1/2 cup of fish sauce
• 1-3 tablespoons of sugar
• About 3 packets of FRESH pho rice noodles. Each packet is usually enough for 2 large bowls or 3 medium bowls. If you can’t find fresh you can use the dried variety but make sure you soak them in cold water before cooking.
• Package of fresh bean sprouts
• Fresh cilantro
• Fresh culantro
• Fresh Thai basil
• Fresh limes
• Fresh green onions
• Fresh green Jalapeno peppers or hot Thai peppers
• Hoisin sauce
• Sriracha sauce
Start by boiling about 1 gallon or enough to cover the bones in your large pot and heat on high. It takes a fairly long time to get the water up to boil and you can use this time to prepare your other ingredients. Once the water is boiling you can parboil the bones for 10 minutes. After boiling drain all the water, rinse the pot out and rinse the bones of any loose residue. This rids the bones of a lot of excess blood, bone bits and other nasty stuff that you don’t want contaminating your soup base. If you do not parboil your soup it may become extra greasy and dark in color which is the sign of a poor quality soup. Fill your pot back up with 2 gallons of water and bring back to a boil while finishing up on other ingredients.
Turn your broiler on and move rack to highest spot. Place ginger and onions on a baking sheet or similar after brushing on cooking oil on the cut sides of the ginger and onions. Watch closely and flip onions and ginger over after they begin to char then continue to char other side.
After water comes to a boil carefully place the parboiled bones back in the pot then add the following: your charred ginger and onions, sugar, fish sauce, salt, black pepper and spice packet which consists of your cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cardamom pods and cloves. Also add the meats that you would like cooked. I suggest that you do NOT cook lean meats such as tenderloin and sirloin as they can be sliced thin and cook instantly when you pour the hot broth over them later. Meat with fat in it such as the brisket or flank should be cooked. Simmer for 1.5 hours and remove just the meat and set aside for later. Strain broth (yes all of it) to remove all small particles then return broth, bones, onions, ginger and spices back to original pot and continue to simmer for another 2-3 hours. The marrow in the bones will shrink in size and become a stiff jello consistency and that’s when you’ll know that all the flavor has been extracted from the bones. This is critical as your soup base comes from the marrow. After flavor has been extracted you can discard the bones, charred onions and ginger and spice packet then strain once more.
During the boiling and simmering process you will need to skim the cooked blood and extra fat that will float to the surface every once in a while. This will cloud up the soup if not removed. I like to leave a little bit of fat as it adds flavor and rounds the herbs and spices out nicely. When boiling I do not cover the pot but when simmering I cover the pot to prevent excess evaporation of water/soup. Also instead of adding all the salt, pepper, sugar and fish sauce all at once try adding the minimum amount and then adding more to your taste towards the end of the cooking process. As for the spices add more or less of the spices you like but try not to omit anything as they work together for the greater good of the soup. Even a hint of a spice you may not like will add depth to the flavor and aroma without you even realizing the ingredient is used. I personally go heavy on the cinnamon, star anise and cloves.
Prepare the meat by slicing it as thinly as possible. For the fresh meat you can place in the freezer for 10 minutes or so just to stiffen it up a little in order to make it easy to cut. If you used cow tail then remove meat from bones and shred by hand. Set aside meat in separate containers to add to bowl later.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. About 2 quarts or enough to cook 1 serving of noodles at a time. The water will turn cloudy after the first batch is cooked but can be reused. Allow water to come to a boil between each serving being cooked. Rice noodles cook extremely fast so be careful. You want them slightly al dente as the hot soup you add later will continue to soften them as you eat. Cook time is about 10-20 seconds in boiling water and swirling them in the pot of boiling water with a pair of chopsticks will help ensure an even cook. If you use dried noodles make sure you soak them in COLD water for a few minutes to loosen them up before cooking. After cooking, the serving of noodles will reduce greatly in size and should be about fist size. Place each serving of cooked noodle in separate large bowls and set aside.
During cook time you will have plenty of time to prepare the garnishments of hot peppers, bean sprouts, cilantro, cilantro, green onion, basil and limes. If you don’t know how the garnishments should look then go eat pho at a restaurant first. Besides, if you’ve never tried pho then you shouldn’t be spending all this time and money cooking a rather large vat of it for your first experience.
Prepare your bowl by adding your desired meats including cooked and raw to the top of the noodles in your bowl. Ladle boiling soup on top of the ingredients in order to cook raw meat and bring cooked meat and noodles back up to temperature. Serve with all the condiments plus sriracha and hoisin sauce ON THE SIDE. Everyone eats their pho a different way and usually directly reflects their personality.
Only prepare a bowl large enough that you know you can finish. The noodles will begin to become mushy and expand from absorbing the soup and because of this will not keep well for later consumption.
Remember that even though you may like your pho plain in the beginning you may like it garnished as your taste buds evolve and open your senses. For instance the fresh lime, cilantro and fresh onion helps freshen up this hearty soup. The fresh bean sprouts add a little crunch and texture. The hot peppers and sriracha add the kick while the hoisin adds a sweet rounded dimension to the heat. Don’t be shy or lose your sense of adventure. Serve extra hot with chopsticks, a Chinese soup spoon and a knowing smile to those who are hungover and anxious for this delicious cure. Enjoy!