Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sick at Home Edition: Lazy pho

Okay, it's actually Saturday, but I've been feeling like crap all week and I've decided that the only thing that could fight off this flu/cold is bowls and bowls of hot, spicy pho (rhymes with "whuh?".

Traditional pho takes almost 20 hours and a whole bunch of ingredients that I can't deal with right now, like beef thigh bones, carrots and other stuff to make the broth. Being of compromised health, I decided to cut out the whole broth thing (sacrilege, I know) and just buy it.

This recipe makes a lot of broth. Cook the noodles and beef as you need to throughout the day.

1 carton/900mL beef broth (I used President's Choice organics brand)
1 sirloin steak
1 serving vermicelli (you can buy packs that have them portioned into servings. It's pretty great)
1 small onion
1 hot pepper (or more, or less)
2 star anise
1" piece of ginger, peeled
5 cloves
3" stick of cinnamon
5 black peppercorns
a few splashes of fish sauce
1 lime
Fresh basil (or mint, if you don't have basil)

Note: I was really arbitrary about the spices. Don't worry about being too exact.

Let's do it!
First, bring the broth to a boil and add the star anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and fish sauce. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered,  for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak the vermicelli as per package directions.

After 20 minutes of simmering, taste and adjust flavour. If this is purchased beef broth, it's probably going to be pretty salty already, so lay off the salt. Add the onions and hot pepper a this point if you prefer your onions soft and your broth spicy.

Slice the beef thinly. I only used half the steak for my lunch and am saving the rest for dinner.


Turn the heat up to a low boil and add the vermicelli. Stir until cooked, a few minutes. Scoop the noodles into a bowl, and add the beef. Boil until cooked to your liking (I like mine rare). Place that into the bowl and top with broth, basil/mint and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

Note: I have omitted the raw bean sprouts that usually come with pho because I just don't like them.

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