Pho Bo - Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
By: Elsa Petersen-SchepelernServes: 4
THOSE who scoff at fusion food will just have to scoff! I come from a country of immigrants – and my own family is enthusiastically hybrid. This one comes from the Vietnamese branch. Pho bo is of course one of the great Vietnamese classics: this is our version, made on weekends to remind some of us of home.
2 packets fresh ho-fun noodles or 4 bundles dried bahn pho broad rice noodles (just don't use wheat-based ones)
1 onion, halved and finely sliced
2–4 hot red chillies, deseeded if you like, but finely sliced
250 g rump or fillet steak, very finely sliced (freezing it first will make it easier to slice)
2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 quartered
a bunch of fresh coriander, torn
a bunch of Vietnamese basil, torn (don't use ordinary basil – omit it if you can't find the real thing)
a bunch of Vietnamese mint or ordinary mint, torn
75 ml nuoc mam (fish sauce), to serve
Vietnamese beef stock:
3 litres beef stock
3–4 onions, finely sliced
2.5 cm fresh ginger, sliced
8 star anise
½ lime or lemon, with rind, sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
- To make the Vietnamese beef stock, put all the stock ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Keep hot.
- Meanwhile, if using dried noodles, put them in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for about 30 minutes, then drain and keep in cold water until ready to serve. If using ho-fun, cut or separate them into strips, soak in hot water for a few minutes, then keep in cold water until ready to serve.
- Blanch the onion in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the noodles, then dip in a saucepan of boiling water for a minute or so until hot, then divide between big soup bowls. Add the blanched onion and chillies, then put the sliced beef on top.
- Return the beef stock to the boil, then strain it into the bowls. Add the lime juice and herbs. Serve with wedges of lime and a separate bowl of fish sauce.
© recipe copyright 2001 Elsa Petersen-Scepelern