What the Pho’s for dinner?

New restaurant name?! Pho Ck-no.

Okay. Down to business.

I’ve been sick, as I may have mentioned in the previous post, so I’ve been craving strange, out of the ordinary things. Namely, Thai (I like Thai, I really do — but cravings for the cuisine are very, very rare). Along with this Thai craving came the desire to try my hand at homemade Pho (I know, not the same thing, but my tastebuds don’t know the difference). I have ZERO experience with Vietnamese food — minus the Than Bros. Pho I protested a few years ago (for no real reason at all) and the Vietnamese sandwiches we used to eat when I’d visit Justin at Starbucks for lunch. Beyond that, I’m admittedly ignorant.

I hit the jackpot when I found a super simple recipe on one of my favorite blogs, mynewroots.org. (She’s yet to fail me, and for that, I adore her).

I popped into PCC on my way home to load up on the handful of spies I never would have imagined made up a Pho broth (buy in bulk, people — I spent MAYBE $3.00 on four spices I didn’t have in the pantry), a ton of veggies, and a pack of buckwheat soba noodles (buckwheat is pretty cool — read about it!). I also needed a side dish of some sort, so I threw some frisee, radicchio, and the most beautiful mandarin oranges I’d seen in a long time into the basket.

Here’s how it went…

Pho Noodle Bowl

Broth:

Ingredients:

2 lbs. / 1 kg onion (white, yellow, red…)
1.5 oz / 50g fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. fennel seeds
3 black cardamom pods (green cardamom also works)
3 star anise
5 whole cloves
½ tsp. black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. coriander seeds
½ Tbsp. sea salt
6 cups / 1.5 liters water
Directions:
1. Peel and roughly chop onions. Wash ginger and slice, leaving the skin on.
2. Add all spices, onions, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer for an hour or so – lid on.
3. Strain broth through a sieve into another pot and discard all solids.
Suggested Additions
Noodles: soba or rice (cook according to package directions)
Greens: bok choy, spinach, swiss chard
Cruciferous veggies: broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower, cabbage (raw or lightly steamed)
Other veg: mung bean sprouts, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms
Garnishes: lime, toasted sesame seeds, Thai basil, spring onion, sriracha, tamari
To eat:
1. In very large bowls, place roughly chopped greens. Ladle in the hot broth, which will quickly wilt the greens.
2. Add noodles, all veggies and top with the garnishes. Thai basil may be hard to find but it is worth the search! Makes all the difference. Serve hot. ENJOY!
Drunken Mandarin Frisee Salad
Ingredients:
One head of frisee
One head of radicchio
Three mandarin oranges (one juiced, two sliced)
Spring onions (1/2 cup, chopped)
1/4 cup Toasted Sesame Seeds
I went rogue on my dressing — blindly throwing ingredients into a bowl. I mixed the following to taste:
2 tbsp honey (use raw, organic, if possible!)
1/2 cup organic Tamari
2 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Brown Rice Vinegar
Juice of one Mandarin Orange
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Mix greens, radicchio, sliced mandarins, and dressing — top with toasted sesame seeds.

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I can’t say for certain that everything will turn out, but based on my mini taste tests alone, seems like it’ll be a successful dinner! Stand by if you care to know what the Pho happens…

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Update: that was Pho King amazing.

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