Raising awareness of heart and health issues at the Healthy Hearts event, Cooked whipped up a steamy storm. On the menu was a Vietnamese Pho – a noodle broth and a perfect warming dish for an Autumnal day. And if you have a cold hanging around, a bowl of steaming hot pho will see it on its way.
Here’s the how to:
Serves 4 to 6
For the broth:
2 large onions
4-inch piece fresh ginger
2 (3-inch) whole cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
6 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 carrots, peeled chopped
1/2 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced and lightly seared
8 ounces dried rice noodles
3 spring onions
2 limes in wedges
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup fresh herbs (coriander, basil, Thai basil, mint)
- Prepare the onions and ginger: Peel the onions and cut them into quarters through the root. Peel the ginger and slice it into quarters down its length. Char them over a high temperature.
- Dry-roast the spices: Chuck the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander seeds in the bottom of a dry frying pan and roast over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until toasty. Watch out for scorching!
- Combine the broth ingredients: To the pan with the spices, add the stock, soy sauce, fish sauce, chopped carrots, and the onions and ginger.
- Simmer: Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to give time for the spices and aromatics to infuse.
- Freeze the beef: Put the beef on a plate, cover with cling film, and freeze for 15 minutes. The edges of the beef should feel firm to the touch, but not frozen through. This makes it easier to slice the beef thinly. Slice across the grain, and aim for slices no thicker than 1/4-inch. Once sliced, keep the beef covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Cook the rice noodles: Bring a second pan of water to a boil, drop in the rice noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain the noodles and run them under cool water to stop cooking. The noodles will stick together after cooking, so divide them immediately between serving bowls.
- Prepare the rest of the toppings: Thinly slice the spring onions and the chilli. Cut the lime into wedges. Place the bean sprouts in a serving dish. Roughly chop the herbs.
- Strain the broth: Strain the solids from the broth. Discard the solids. Put the broth back over low heat and keep it just below a simmer. It needs to be hot to cook the beef later.
- Prepare the bowls: Add a few slices of raw beef to each bowl of noodles. Put the beef in a single layer so that the slices will cook evenly in the broth.
- Ladle the hot broth over top: Pour it evenly over the beef in order to cook it. The beef should immediately start to turn opaque. Add the toppings – and get stuck in!
Pho to go, in a heartbeat.