Today I got my wish–rain on the weekend when we had no place pressing to go. We did get up this morning and go out to the farm getting in about 3 hours before the rains began. On the way home we were talking about lunch and Proeun said that it was a good Pho day. For those who don’t know Pho is the national dish of Vietnam and variations of it are family favorites all over Southeast Asia. I had never eaten it before eating Proeun but now it is one of my favorites. I consists of a mildly sweet and intensely flavorful beef broth served over rice noodles with meat balls or other pieces of meat and lots of cilantro, thai basil and green onions on top.
We stopped at our local Asian store for beef neck bones, meat balls, thai basil, and cilantro then home to start the magic. As with so many dishes I have learned from my in-laws it is really hard to give specific measurements. But what we did was start the bones in salted water and slowly cook it for like 5 hours. Skim off the fat and add more water and seasoning as needed.
We also like to roast an onion by wrapping it in foil and placing it directly on the burner until the inside is nicely burned. Then chop up the roasted onion and add to the broth.
For seasoning we used anise and cinnamon, sugar, salt, black pepper and some fish sauce. That makes the broth, alot of time patience and working with your tastebuds. It doesn’t need to be overly seasoned because it is traditional to add a variety of condiments.
Deep fried red onions, hoisin sauce (Chinese barbeque) Sriracha (pepper paste), preserved cabbage, Pho paste, cilantro, green onion and thai basil. Lemon or lime is also really nice.
Everyone selects and puts on their own choices to taste.
To assemble the bowls, soften the dried rice noodles in boiling water. Strain and put in bowls. Select the meat you chose, tonight it was sliced beef and meatballs plus the beef neck bones and cook or warm in a strainer on top of the broth. Add to noodles and ladle the broth over it. The noodles really soak up the broth so you will probably need more then you think, then add the condiments of your choice.
It’s one of our families favorites.