We are a pho-loving family. I don’t think there is ever a time we would reject one – hottest day of the year maybe, but it rarely gets extreme here in Auckland.
Pho is the best antidote to the coldness of a crisp Autumn night. Squeeze of lime, tears of vietnamese mint, rings of picked onions, fresh beef and slices of firey hot chillis. Pour in a good broth and devour. Yum yum 😋🍲🐂 Good for the body and soul!
- 2 onions, halved
- 6cm piece of ginger, halved lengthwise
- 1kg beef shin meat with bones
- 4 litres of water
- 1 spices package in mesh stock bag (2 cinnamon stick, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 8 whole cloves)
- 60ml fish sauce
- 1 small chunk of yellow rock sugar
- 3 servings of rice noodles (dried or fresh)
- Cooked beef from the broth (shredded or thinly sliced)
- 500g skirt or topside beef, shaved thinly
- big handful of each: mint, coriander, thai basil
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 2-3 red chilli, sliced
- 2 big handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
- Hoisin sauce
- Sriracha hot sauce
Charing: You can do this step either on the gas stove top or in the oven.
Place cut slices of ginger and onion halves on a wire rack and place on the stove or in the oven. Grill on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue until they are nicely browned.
Parboil the bones: Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Add beef shin and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, wash the blood off the bones and rinse out the pot. Refill pot with 4 litres of hot water and beef shin. Bring back to a boil then lower to a simmer. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.
Perfecting the broth: Add ginger, onion, spice packet, beef, sugar and fish sauce; simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef and set aside (you can eat the meat later too.) Strain and return broth to the pot – now is the time for tasting and seasoning. If the broth’s flavor isn’t quite there yet, add 1 tablespoon more of fish sauce, large pinch of salt and a small piece of rock sugar (or 1 teaspoon of regular sugar). Keep doing this until the broth tastes just right.
Prepare noodles & meat: Slice your beef as thin as possible – try freezing for 15 minutes prior to slicing. Shred the cooked shin meat and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Cook the noodles as per packet instructions. If they are fresh rice noodles, just blanch it for 1 minute.
Serving: You are ready to serve when your meat and noodles are in bowls and all other ingredients plated. Bring the broth back to a boil. Once boiling, pour hot broth into each bowl, cooking the raw beef slices in the process. Serve straight away. Everyone can style their bowls as they like.