Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Friend or Pho?

I've wanted to try Pho for a long time, though it hadn't even occurred to me to try to make it myself cause I didn't really know what was in it. All I knew was that it was Vietnamese, that it can be made vegan and delicious, and that it was like a soup.

Oh, and that it's pronounced more like "fuh" than like "foe."*

Anyway, oh my, that's one nice list of ingredients! But I found that really fun cause I wanted to go all out and get the good stuff and do it up nice.

I already had garlic and cinammon sticks, but I got ginger, bay leaf, broth cubes, carrots, celery, and lemongrass for the broth. Didn't have any soy sauce, and I didn't want to buy the kind we get (nama shoyu) right now, so I planed to add salt toward the end (but didn't really add much, cause it was dang flavorful as is).

Almost done with preparing my broth ingredients, I decided I wanted to double the recipe, so I did. Now I have a lot of yummy broth left for more Pho or whatever else.

While I was looking for star anise at the store, I reminded myself that I don't really even like star anise. That settled that.

Here is the broth in the big steamer/stockpot. I cooked it for over 40 minutes (I set the timer, but then I was busy. Then I think some time passed before I remembered it again. I would guess it cooked for an hour).

Then I poured the broth into a colander lined with cheesecloth (what's another word for this?) and squeezed it together (put on gloves to do so cause it was hot hot)

I'm really proud of this spread (though all I really had to do was cut up stuff I bought at the store.) Starting clockwise with the salt, we have: kale, cilantro, baby bokchoy, sriracha, sesame oil, chili oil, napa cabbage, water chesnuts, lime, scallions, red pepper, "chicken-style" seitan, and soy bean sprouts!

Piled the ingredients into these shallow bowls (the rice noodles are underneath there), but once I poured the broth over, that didn't work too well.

So we ate ours out of these big pyrex bowls!

Generous use of condiments and toppings to taste made this personalized and yummy. I added more spicy than AA, but you might add more. Or less. That's nice. I put the leftover condiments and toppings in the fridge for easy leftovers. Gonna heat up the broth and eat some for lunch right now...

Update: Ate leftovers of this for three days in a row. So when doubling the broth, you get 8-9 generous servings, plus tons of leftover vegetables and toppings. It's nice to have a recipe where the leftovers don't start to bore you. I'm definitely making this again!

*My great aunt, who wouldn't have liked being bothered by those kinds of particulars, would have probably said to all that: "feh"


At July 11, 2006 3:15 PM, Blogger Carla said...

This looks so fun! Fun for a buffet-style party or leftovers that will last a few days with variety. Rockin!

I call it tofurkey-cloth instead of cheesecloth! That's the only thing I've used it to make.

At July 11, 2006 3:38 PM, Blogger michelleknits said...

You know, I was totally thinking "party" today when I was assembling the bowls for leftovers today (though not yesterday when i first made it). People decide how much they want of what and fill their bowls with their preferences!

I think I've used it only to strain broths. Broth cloth?

At July 11, 2006 9:28 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

Wow. Your pho looks phat!

I think of it as good "kid food." (planning ahead, a bit)
"They" say kids like to eat stuff that they make themselves - pita pizzas, tacos - so anything that can be personalized like this would be good for kids.
I think, though, that you're right and it could be a fun party food.

At July 11, 2006 11:39 PM, Blogger michelleknits said...

yeah, i'm thinking, casual-dinner party type not drunk-bok choy on the floor-sri racha in the eye type of party.

i bet kids would like to assemble their own bowl of soup. try to remind me of that in a bunch of years.

At July 12, 2006 12:57 AM, Blogger Stacey said...

I'll remind you.
But, I've seen my cousins eat soup, we definitely need to remember to use drop cloths.

At July 12, 2006 10:47 AM, Blogger mishka said...

My ghetto grocery store doesn't carry sri racha. Boo. I hear such raves about it.

At July 12, 2006 11:53 AM, Blogger michelleknits said...

hmmm, i got it at a specialty store in chinatown, by the other chili sauces and hot spices. my grocery store certainly doesn't carry it either!


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