Sunday, June 27, 2010

Homemade Pho

Pho is one of my favorite things (it's pronounced "fuh.") It's a Vietnamese noodle soup that's slightly spicy, very tangy and is served with myriad extra fun things to dump in. Any dish that is automatically customizable is ok in my book. It's also great for a hangover (not that I would know.) 

Pho is one of those things I get cravings for sometimes, but satiating those cravings becomes difficult living in Baltimore; there are decidedly few pho options in the city. Boo! Coming from Portland, where there are many, this caused some consternation. Enter: White Girl makes her own pho. And while it's nowhere near authentic, it's a pretty damn good representation and will do when good pho is 3,000 miles away.
So here's how I did it.
I started by sauteeing onions and lemongrass in some sesame oil. When they were just translucent, I added chopped mushrooms. Then I added enough (homemade! so good!) chicken stock to make it into soup. Then I added all the Asian ingredients I had in my house: fish sauce (this really makes it--it gives it great umami), soy sauce, sriracha and grated ginger, along with some pho rice noodles. This seems like an exotic ingredient, but I found them at the regular grocery store. Same with the lemongrass.

I let it simmer for a bit, then added some frozen corn. Finally, I topped it off with fresh scallions. 
To serve, I even chopped up some typical garnishes that normally accompany pho in any restaurant: lime wedges, mung bean sprouts and peanuts. Ok, so the peanuts aren't quite typical, but they were a really nice touch. In restaurants, there are normally two sauce options, too: a sortof sweet plum sauce, and a spicy chili sauce similar to sriracha. I didn't have those and had already added some spice.

Homemade pho! Like I said, not quite authentic, but pretty admirable for a home effort.

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