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Pho without borders

August 27, 2009

The family has got an end of the summer cold. I wanted to make something healthy but full of flavor. I have been in love with Pho (pronounced “Fa”) for over a decade. Pho, as you probably know, is a Vietnamese soup. It can vary significantly but the general idea is to have a flavorful broth (the key to many dishes), fresh veggies and herbs, rice noodles and of course a little heat.pho bowl with veggies

I relied on my frozen chicken stock that I make once a month in a huge batch. I spiced it up with some star anise and ginger. I let that simmer for about one hour. In the bottom of the soup bowls I put fresh chopped mint, cilantro, carrots, green onions, Serrano chile and a teaspoon of fish sauce. I seared ¼” slices of pork tenderloin for just two minutes and then laid them in the bowls as well. I knew once I ladled on the hot broth the pork would finish cooking and be tender. It was!

The twist is a poached egg. I poached the eggs in the same flavorful broth. I then placed them on the chopped veggies and pork in the bowls. I topped that with my cooked rice noodles (soaked in cold water for 30 minutes then boiled for five). I ladled the star anise/ginger broth into the bowls and the perfume was instant. I love this dish because the broth is full of flavor but light in the mouth. The fresh veggies and herbs keep their integrity but soften enough to become part of the soup. The brightness of the mint, the earthiness of the cilantro and the sharpness of the green onion all come together to create a complex flavor that you can’t put our finger on but you love it. The warming effect of the star anise (one of the five spice spices) and the ginger make the soup even more complex. The best part is all this complexity comes with very little effort!

pho with eggThe egg is the magic touch. You take a few spoonfuls of the intense broth and enjoy the endless depth of flavor that develops in your mouth. You then puncture the yolk with your spoon and stir it around into the broth and you now have a rich, elegant soup that becomes a healthy meal. Enjoy!

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 1:09 pm

    I had no idea Pho was so easy to make at home! I’ll bet the ginger helped soothe the tummy and clear stuffy heads.

  2. jonnyfrog permalink
    August 28, 2009 10:09 pm

    Pho rawks! There are many tasty pho places in the Portland (OR) area. Your recipe sounds equally tasty! I too enjoy an egg in my noodles- although not something I have found in a pho shop. My first time with an egg was actually born of not having alot of cash to eat with. During a bout of on again off again employment (common amongst cooks and chefs looking for just the right place in which to create), I resorted to ramen noodles. Fortunately my roommates and I had a kickass garden with chilis, green onions, eggplant, basil, and Brussles sprouts. The egg came into play when my body told me I needed protein- and there was a carton of eggs. Just like you- I discovered the richness of the egg poached in the broth, and now I even crave this flavor- but i do not crave the 10 for a buck ramen w/ “Oriental flavor”- what is that flavor anyway- is that a spice you would smuggle?

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 30, 2009 8:58 am

      sounds good jonnyfrog, thank you! Jeffrey 🙂

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