Nov 30, 2010
the first time i had pho was at my brother's and his wife's place some years back. it was actually a pho bo, which means with beef. 'pho' is a traditional vietnamese noodle soup dish, consisting of rice noodles in a clear meat broth. the meat is actually cooked with bones and everything, to give the soup a hearty, meaty taste. on top of the soup, there's usually a lot of fresh, raw ingredients such as sprouts, herbs, and limes.
i remember my first pho well. since my sister in law is half vietnamese, they actually cooked a version of the vaporous soup that, to me, had a very original vietnamese, flavorsome and intense taste to it (a little getting used to is probably normal). what makes the pho so special is that it takes both, a lot of spices for a good broth - and a lot of time to cook it to perfection. i've always wanted to cook an original, proper pho ga (i.e. with chicken).
now, there really are a lot (really a lot) of tipps and instructions in the web on how to do a proper pho. honestly? a little intimidating... on top, you're supposed to cook it for around 8 hours! i mean, what person with a proper job can actually go to such length, especially on a weekday?
then, last week i just thought: what the heck, i'll just invent my own interpretation of a pho. a quick pho. a nice, vaporous pho. one with chicken! yes, a pho ga. perfect for a wintry evening. with all the traditional, lovely things inside, that make a pho broth perfection: coriander seeds, cloves (!), star anise, cardamom and cinnamon. i put the spices in a tea bag so i didn't have to seeve them out after cooking. basically, i just made the pho without cooking the complete meat for hours on end. i just added a little chopped chicken tot he broth. and trust me, the broth turned out nicely meaty - after all.
if you are looking for a proper pho guide, try out steamykitchen's here. it's very elaborate.
here's my picture guide (sorry i forgot to add the spices, see above):
pho ga - simple as that! and if you were wondering: yup, pho is actually pronounced 'fuh' (so yes, the 'pho king' would be prononounced... well, you know... lol).