The Pho Experiment

Today we have an exciting guest post from Boyfriend!

I hate to admit to you all that Boyfriend is actually a better cook than me.  But he’s been doing it for longer, so maybe one day…

Boyfriend and I cook together as often as we can which often leads to arguments due to our different cooking styles. Boyfriend likes to “plate up” and make his food look pretty whereas I’m like “JUST LET ME EEEEEAT IT!”.  Boyfriend likes salt whereas I’m like “NO! NOT TOO MUCH SALT! IT CLOGS YOUR ARTERIES!” (plus my salt threshold is much lower than his).  Amongst other culinary differences.

Anyway, recently we tried our hand at Pho. Well, I was cooking other stuff while Boyfriend tried his hand at Pho and I ate it.  Here is Boyfriend’s post about the process:

We decided to try our hand at making Pho one night, knowing how delicious it is. From the start it seemed a bit daunting, especially reading a Luke Nguyen recipe which made 15 litres of stock, and served 30 people.

We found a couple of recipes and used a combination of these to make the stock for our Pho. To make the  stock we started off by finely (but not too fine) slicing two onions, which went into a large saucepan and were sweated off with garlic and some sliced ginger. We then cut up and browned off 1 kilo of beef short ribs as the beef base of our stock. Once they were browned off they went into the saucepan with 2 cinnamon quills,  some sliced spring onion, star anise, 3 or 4 cloves, coriander root, mint root and salt and whole peppercorns. We added 4 litres of water and once it came to the boil let it simmer for 3 – 4 hours, or until it had reduced by about a quarter and the beef rib was falling off the bone.

While the stock was simmering we made the rest of the soup. We finely sliced some red capsicum, some small white spring onions and the green stalks, some mint and some very finely sliced raw fillet beef. We also had bean sprouts which we kept whole and some whole mint leaves. We used two types of noodles (after reading a couple of recipes) which were vermicelli and thicker rice noodles. We cooked the noodles as per the recipe but they ended up making way too much, that and one type of noodle probably would have been fine.

Once the stock was finished simmering we took all the beef ribs out and put them aside, then strained the stock through a fine sieve. We discarded everything in the stock and put it back on the heat to simmer. If there is any scum on top just spoon it off. Once the stock came back to a simmer we added a tablespoon or two of fish sauce and lime juice.

Once the beef had cooled a bit we shredded the meat off the bones and put it aside.

To make the Pho we put the cooked vermicelli and rice noodles in a deep bowl and topped them with the capsicum, whole and shredded mint, onion, bean sprouts, the shredded beef and the raw fillet. We bought the stock to a boil (it needs to be boiling to cook the raw beef) then spooned it over the top of the beef into the bowls. The boiling stock cooks the beef, though it has to be very thin. We then topped with a bit more mint and some more bean sprouts.

All in all it was very easy to make but a bit time consuming. It’s probably something you would make when you have an afternoon free.

Very delicious and very satisfying, and also surprisingly filling.


Would I eat it again? If Boyfriend’s cooking.