We gotta start with the stock home made or it won’t be healing! This can be gluten free or grain free. Your choice.
Vietnamese Spiced Beef Stock (Nuoc Dung Bo)
3 lbs meaty beef bones or oxtails
14 cups purified water
1 3-inch piece of ginger
1 onion, cut in quarters
1 tbsp salt
6 whole star anise
1½ cinnamon sticks
2 large bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 tbsp coconut sugar or raw agave nectar
2 tsp fennel seeds
Place bones in a roasting pan and roast in oven on 350° F until browned. Remove bones
and put into a large stockpot. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan. Place pan over burner
and add cold water. Scrape up all the good brown bits and add the contents of the pan to
the stockpot. Add more COLD water to cover the bones. Make sure liquid comes no
higher than 2 inches from the top. Salt and return to a boil. Stir in the star anise,
cinnamon, bay, cloves, ginger, onion and sugar. Put the fennel seeds in cheesecloth, a
tea ball, or in tin foil that’s been pierced all over, and add them to the pot. When the stock
comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, skimming, for about 4 hours. Strain and
remove fat. ***To make this into a super stock as I like to call bone broth, simmer for at least 24 hours and add water as you need to. You also must add at the start, either cider vinegar or lemon juice to help extract the minerals from the bones. I think lime juice would be nice in Pho too…just 1/4 cup. Why bone broth? It’s full of minerals, collagen (helps joints and other tissue), glycine, glutamine and proline. The minerals are in a form that can be readily absorbed…things like calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulphur, phosphorous and more. This can help reduce inflammation which is a big part of getting healthy. It can also boost your immune system. Best of all…it heals your gut lining and leaky gut is an immense health problem these days. It causes all kinds of troubles including auto-immune diseases.
Now for the soup itself…
Phó (Vietnamese Beef-Noodle Soup) Serves 6 big bowls and I think there might be leftovers:)
If you like Asian soups and can tolerate some spice, this is the ultimate comfort food. It’s
a snap to make once you get hold of all the ingredients and in many cities and other locations we have access to an amazing array of Asian ingredients. Depending on personal tastes, variations on phó would include crunchy tripe, tender long-cooked brisket, savoury beef balls, or silky tendon. Or it could come as a light chicken version, phó ga. A good phó restaurant would be expected to list 15 to 20 of these choices.
Whatever your preference, this soup is delicate but filling; fragrant and satisfying–and
historically interesting. Phó is a blend of Mongolian beef hot pot (the Vietnamese were
the only people who defeated the Khan’s invading armies–that grilled their meat on their
shields and made “hot pot” soup in their helmets), Chinese spices, and SE Asian herbs.
So gather the ingredients and prep…
½ pound phó rice noodles (These can be the real thing, banh phó, or rice sticks or any
rice noodle at all.) So this will be gluten free but not grain free. For grain free, you can substitute zucchini spiralized to make noodles. Just cook for a short time in the broth and voila, veggie noodles. I’m thinking abut trying a mix of daikon with the zucchini.
8 cups Vietnamese Spiced Beef Stock (above)
Lime juice to taste.
2-3 tbsp nuoc mam (fish sauce made from fermented anchovies available in some
supermarkets and Asian markets) or other Southeast Asian fish sauce
¾ pound slab of boneless beef (top round is fine but I spoil myself with fillet), partially frozen then sliced into paper thin slices (ask your butcher). I was even able to get the
butcher at Save on Foods to slice it for me.
Accompaniments: ¼ cup sliced green onions, ½ cup Thai basil or regular, 2 cups fresh
mung bean sprouts, 6 lime slices, finely sliced jalapeno peppers, and nuoc mam.
Cook the noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain (or follow package directions
for whatever noodles you’re using). Heat spiced beef stock, lime juice, and nuoc mam (fish sauce) in a large non-aluminum saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the broth for about 30 minutes. If you are using zucchini noodles, put them in the broth about 5 mins before ready to plate.
Arrange green onions, basil, bean sprouts, chilies, and lime slices on a platter.
When ready to serve, distribute the noodles evenly among the deep bowls, then top with
meat slices. Pour the hot broth over both, filling the bowl, and serve immediately, with
porcelain spoons and chopsticks and with the platter of accompaniments, nuoc mam (fish sauce), and chilli sauce on the side. This is a meal in a bowl!
Accompany with a bottle of chili-garlic sauce (Tuong ot Toi Viet-Nam, if you can get it) or
chili oil drizzled into broth for extra heat on the side (Yum!).