I don’t know about you, but after
many several days of over-indulgence, I was in the mood for something fresh and clean for dinner that didn’t involve carbs or cheese :) Since I had some left-over prime rib from Christmas Eve dinner, I envisioned a wonderful bowl of beef Pho.
Classic Pho, of course, is made from a long-simmered, spiced beef broth that is poured over cooked rice noodles and thinly sliced raw beef. The heat of the broth cooks the beef. Since my beef was already cooked and I was too low on energy today for that long simmering thing, I opted for this Faux Pho – a quick and easy Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, that was really tasty and definitely hit the spot!
P.S. You can pick up the spices in small quantities at any Bulk Barn in Canada. I love Bulk Barn :)
Recipe: Faux Pho. Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
Summary: You can make this dish with left-over cooked chicken as well (just use all chicken broth for a Faux Pho Ga). You can also use whatever kind of noodle you have around. Wide rice stick noodles are classic but since this is a Faux Pho, you can use ramen or udon if you like. I also like to add some roughly chopped bok choy instead of the basil/cilantro sometimes. It’s not classic Pho but nice for extra goodness (to help me eat my greens!).
- For spice packet:
- 3 whole star anise
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 3 thick slices of gingerroot
- 1 strip of lime rind (from 1/8 of lime)
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups beef broth
- 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 8 oz. 1/8- to 1/4-inch wide rice noodles
- 1 1/2 cups leftover beef roast or steak, very thinly sliced and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
- *or substitute another green such as bok choy, for the herbs
- 1 medium shallot, sliced into thin rings
- 1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed
- 1 lime, cut into eight wedges
- Chile paste, such as sambal oelek (or sriracha)
- Cut a 6-inch square of double-thickness piece of cheesecloth. Place spices and ginger in the centre of the square, gather up and secure with a string. (If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can just add the spices to the broth directly and strain them out later, before spooning out broth. I just find it easier to package them up).
- In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, add the chicken and beef broths, fish sauce, and spice packet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 30 min.
- Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles in cold water for 20 minutes. *(If you’re feeling lazy, you can just place the soaked noodles in the bowls and let the hot broth finish cooking them by letting it sit for a couple of minutes before eating) OR Bring water to a boil in another large saucepan. Drain the rice noodles and add them to the boiling water. Give the noodles a quick stir and cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes (don’t overcook or the noodles will get gummy). Drain the noodles and portion them into four large soup bowls.
- Portion the cooked beef, green onions, cilantro, basil (or bok choy), and shallot into the four bowls, scattering them over the noodles.
- Remove spice packet from soup broth and discard. Divide the hot broth among the four bowls, pouring it over the noodles and other ingredients. Top with the bean sprouts. Serve with the lime wedges and pass the chili sauce or sriracha for everyone to season to taste.
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 40 min | Total time: 1 hour
Number of servings (yield): 4
Adapted from a Fine Cooking and a Canadian Living recipe