What the Pho?

Last night I made pho. I should mention that I’ve never had pho before. So I don’t know what it should taste like. But this was pretty good.

Of course, it was good. It was a recipe in my current favorite cookbook, The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. I’ve mentioned before how much I love this cookbook. It’s geared toward weeknight dinners. All the recipes are quick and easy, but from scratch and kicked up a notch. It totally trust these women. I’ll be surprised if one day I cook something from this book that is not amazing.

So what is pho? Well, it’s Vietnamese noodle soup. And it’s pronounced “Fuh”, which was a source for a string of sophomoric jokes between the Hubs and I.

“What are you making for dinner?”
“Hehehe. What the fuh is that?”
“Asian noodle soup. Fuh, I can’t beleive you put this much ginger in it.”
“What the fuh is this? Fish sauce? It stinks.”
“I know. But I don’t give a fuh. I’m starving. I’ll eat anything.”

It sorta went down hill from there. I’ll spare you.

But anyway, back to the pho. It’s a soup made with rice noodles and either chicken or beef. It is served with condiments such as hot peppers, herbs and bean sprouts on the side, so the person eating it can add as much as they wish. It seems like I always see Anthony Bourdain eating it when he travels to Southeast Asia. (This is not the clip I have in my mind, but it’s pretty similar.) My pho had a little bit of steak (the end cut off the ribeye I ate Sunday). The recipe said to slice it very thinly and place it in the bowl raw. I froze the piece of steak for about 30 minutes so it would be easy to slice into very thin pieces.

When you spoon the boiling broth of the soup over the steak, it cooks the steak. The hubs was skeptical. But after he saw my steak cooked to a safe doneness, he tried his. I didn’t have rice noodles, but I did have soba noodles. The recipe said to simmer the broth for about 20 minutes, so I just cooked the noodles in the broth as it simmered. The broth was made by broiling some onions, garlic and fresh ginger, all sliced thin, and cloves for about 5 minutes until they began to turn black on the edges. Scrape all that into a pot with about 2 1/2 quarts of stock and simmer for about 20 minutes. I used 1 quart plus 1 pint of turkey stock and 1 cup of shrimp stock.


I put too many sliced jalepenos in mine. It was way too hot, and I ended up picking them out. I also picked out a little of the ginger, as it seemed to be too overpowering if you got just a piece of ginger in a single bite. All mixed together it was okay in there. Also, I didn’t fish out the cloves before serving and I should have. The hubs and I both bit into one and it was pretty nasty. But other than that, it was delicious and hearty and filling. It’s a recipe I’ll try again.

One thought on “What the Pho?

  1. Pingback: Grilled Pizza Crust Fail! | Delicious Potager

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