Tips for making pho or other Vietnamese cuisine

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jsguitar

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I had some good take out pho and shrimp spring rolls tonight for the first time in probably a year. I love the contrast of the beefy broth, fresh herbs, and chili sauce.

Has anyone here made it and have any tips to share?

All other Vietnamese cuisine ideas welcome as well.
 

elsphinc

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yep, i had it on the menu last summer..key is in the broth. got to build the chicken broth with burnt ginger and onions. chopped up, charred over flames, added to chicken stock with fennel seed, coriander, star anise, clove, cinnamon and splash of fish sauce and soy. all about the burn.
 
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jsguitar

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yep, i had it on the menu last summer..key is in the broth. got to build the chicken broth with burnt ginger and onions. chopped up, charred over flames, added to chicken stock with fennel seed, coriander, star anise, clove, cinnamon and splash of fish sauce and soy. all about the burn.
Thanks! I didn't even realize there was chicken Pho as I've only had beef Pho. Good tips.

I think I'm going to hit the Asian Market today and pick some things up after a bit more research into some other dishes.
 
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I ended up getting a book on Vietnamese cooking called Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors by Andrea Nguyen. I also stocked up at the local Asian Market and got the stuff for Pho and other things.

Since we just had Pho, I decided to try something different so I made the soup in the title above and corn/coconut fritters.

I can post the recipes to the soup but it was pretty involved. It'll take a while to write it all out. Basically, I made a chicken stock with a bit of fresh ginger. It has shiitake mushrooms, chicken, crab, shrimp, and rice in it. I'm pretty happy with how it came out. A lot of work though!

The fritters are corn that's pulsed in the food processor just a bit, the cream that's on top of coconut milk, a bit of sugar, a little salt, flour, a bit of corn starch, and an egg.

Dipped in Shriracha sauce. Yummy. Sorry for the bad photography.

Making and straining the stock. Chicken carcass, onion, leek, fresh ginger, a few shiitake's, just a bit of garlic, a little bit of fennel seed, and salt.

stock making.jpg


straining.jpg


shitakis.jpg


corn fritters.jpg
 
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jsguitar

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And the soup and fritters

Edit: Doh! I just realized that I forgot to put the cilantro in the soup. Oh, well.

soup.jpg


friters and shriacha.jpg
 

Cider123

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I love pho but have never made it. If I was to give beef pho a shot, I'd make the broth with something rich and fatty like short ribs, browned on both sides then simmered for hours.

I like fish sauce in my Asian broths too. Oh, and that siracha sauce.

BTW, those fritters above look simply awesome!
 
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jsguitar

jsguitar

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BTW, those fritters above look simply awesome!
Thanks! I really liked them and they were super easy to make.

I did add just a touch of fish sauce to the soup above even though this recipe didn't call for it. I had to go and get it today because I got the wrong stuff at the market yesterday, lol. Still a lot to learn.
 

Tamarlane

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i don't have much too add other than that high quality fish sauce is key, use it as a base and a condiment and it will make everything else shine
 

Adeering

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So funny that this popped up as I have recently done a lot of research into Pho as I love it but cant find it where I live. So what I have found is to use a combination of parts, and traditionally pho is made with just beef (but who says you have to be traditional). Pho is a combination of vietnamese and french techniques that got transfered when the french were in vietnam. So if you look at how the french make a broth the characteristics are very similar.

Its pretty simple though and elsphinc has it right on for the spices. As for chicken, Ive only ever seen beef and I recently made a beef/pork hybrid for fun. But the choice of bones and meat is the big factor. Look at this website, found a great resource and explanation for everything

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/09/the-food-lab-how-to-make-traditional-vietnamese-pho.html

And if you are short on time this page tells you a variation to make a acceptable version in about an hour

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/10/the-food-lab-pho-fast-pho-fastest-pho.html

Hope this helps. What I do is make as much as my pot will hold (which I use a pressure cooker so about 6 quarts finished) and then freeze it in single serving sizes so I can pop it in the microwave whenever to have some.
 
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jsguitar

jsguitar

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Thanks Adeering, I appreciate all of the helpful advice!

I actually made some from the book that I referenced and it's very much like the first serious eats recipe you linked. I didn't take any pics but I was very happy with it.

I used red boat fish sauce. I think it was good but do you have another preference?

I also just got the 'beef soup bones' from the Asian market. I think they were leg bones and I used chuck roast for the rest.

Did you actually find beef shin?

I like the hybrid idea and making some to freeze.

When we lived in Houston we had a great place on the street we lived on (large Vietnamese population) and we found some good places here but they're not nearly as convenient, plus taking a five year old along can be a challenge we don't always want to try our luck with.
 

Adeering

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I couldnt find beef shin, so I went with the beef soup bones as well, as for fish sauce I dont know enough to say what would be a good brand, if you have a local asian market I would try the different brands until you find one you like.

And for the hybrid I was doing a mashup of pho and japanese ramen broth, came out pretty good, and I use it with soba noodles and sliced meat or rice noodles, goes well with both
 
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That sounds good. The store I went to was mostly Korean and Japanese with a bit of Vietnamese and Thai and other. (I'm still not sure how it was organized).

I wasn't sure on the noodles so I ended up getting the 'rice vermicelli' which seemed pretty close to what we've had at restaurants.

BTW Cider123, I almost bought a package of short ribs when I was there but I was trying to be cheap. I think that's a great idea for the Pho that I'll probably try in a different iteration.
 

Adeering

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Sounds good, play around with it, I have had overly sweet pho, crazy spicy pho, and all inbetween. I like to add a tablespoon or so of sugar to the entire broth and then when i serve it up put a dash or two of crushed red pepper (couple slice of jalapenos if I have them) to bump up the heat a little, gives a nice sweetness followed by some heat. That combined with a couple splashes of fish sauce and a squirt of lemon juice and the makes for a very complex rich broth.
 

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I've saved up some lamb bones and I'm doing beef short ribs for Christmas so I'll have foundation for a good stock.

I lean towards the antisocial end of the spicy spectrum. I don't dare bring pho into work.
 
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I did this recipe for beef pho last year. To quote the author it was "pho-king amazing." The fresh beef marrow bones from the butcher and the caramelized ginger and onions were key.

My only advice would be to make the base stock in one go. I did it in two parts and reheating took forever!

The one thing I'd add is ox tail, which has to be my all time favorite meat.

http://www.steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html

I'm totally going to try the recipe you posted, btw.
 

Adeering

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That recipe looks about the same, from everything Ive read there isnt anything too special about pho, but like most eastern cuisine, its widely unknown in America. But seems to use the same spices and recommends the same cuts of meat as well. Charring the onions and ginger is in every recipe Ive read (and I did it as well). One thing I did to add an extra flavor compound was to cut the big chunks of meat in half and char the outside of half the meat.
 
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