Why not try cooking Vietnam’s National Dish, Pho? A delicious noodle broth.
Before my first trip to Vietnam, my thoughts of Vietnamese food always came back to fresh ingredients, fish sauce and rice paper rolls. I couldn’t have been more right but I now also think of wild boar wrapped in leaves, star fruit, light noodle soups, roasted duck, fresh herbs like coriander, mint and lemon grass and egg rolls.
Vietnamese food is extremely fresh and flavourful. Their cooking methods are quick and uncomplicated, involve a range of ingredients that work fabulously together and allow the flavour of each to come through.
Noodle soups are delicious and widely eaten by the Vietnamese. As well as being a cheap meal they are also quick to prepare. The noodles used range in size from thin angel hair to very thick udon noodles and are cooked with a broth flavoured with anything from beef bones, fermented shrimps, chillies, chicken pieces, seafood, tomatoes, herbs, vegetables, limes, pig’s feet etc just to name a few.
One on these ‘noodle soups’ is Pho, which is also the National Dish of Vietnam. Try it at home.
- 175 g dried rice noodles
- few handfuls mint leaves
- few handfuls coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 6 large spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- fish sauce
- 75 g bean sprouts
- 275 g fillet steak, thinly sliced
For the broth:
- 1 cube of beef stock
- 900 g beef marrow bones
- 225 g shin beef, chopped into large chunks
- 1.5 tsp black peppercorns
- 5 cloves
- 4 coriander seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- 5 pods green cardamom
- 3 cm piece fresh ginger, sliced but not peeled
- Put the rice noodles into a large bowl, cover with lots of boiling water and leave to soak.
- For the broth: put the beef stock cube into a large saucepan and cover with 1 litre boiling water. Add the marrow bones and the shin of beef.
- Add the spices and ginger to the broth pan and simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
- Meanwhile put the mint and coriander leaves, chilli, lime wedges and some fish sauce into separate small bowls so people can help themselves to each later.
- Divide the rice noodles among 6 serving bowls.
- Bring the broth back to a vigorous simmer. Take a large soup ladle and lay a quarter of the fillet steak slices over the sides of the ladle. Dip the ladle into the boiling stock so the meat is covered and leave for 5-10 seconds, or until the beef has changed to pale pink. Pour into one of the bowls and top up with extra broth to cover the noodles.
- Repeat the cooking of the steak for each of the bowls. Serve immediately with the small bowls of herbs, chilli and spring onions on the side for scattering over and the bowls of lime and fish sauce for seasoning.