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I made pho!

You would not believe how many puns there are that incorporate the Australianised pronunciation of “pho”. I have so far dodged all of them. You’re welcome.

I made pho! Back in the day, when I still ate meat, pho was one of my favourite things in the whole world. I loved the flavours, the smell, and the huge pile of condiments it came with. It’s one of those recipes I avoided for ages, accepting that going vegetarian meant giving up pho. And then, in a dizzying burst of obviousness, I realised it’s a pretty simple dish when you break it down. Rich, spicy broth; noodles; serve with hot things and cold things (and maybe a little extra sauce).

Cold things!

Cold things!

Basil and mint, wedges of lime, shallots — there was also a bag of bean shoots but I may have been eating those at time of shooting.

Hot things!

Hot things!

Fried tofu and hot blanched broccoli. Also good options: snow peas, mushrooms, and boy choy!

Noodley noodley noo

Noodley noodley noo

My favourite thing about pho is the ongoing construction. Start with a few cold things, build on them as you work your way to the bottom of the bowl. Top up with more lime, more soy, another tofu square — that’s how my pho rolls, dudes. By the time you get to the bottom, your broth is maxed out on all the fixins.

Wait a second...

Wait a second…it’s pho!

Getting the timing right is important: everything should be as hot as the dickens when you serve. Bring the broth back to a boil immediately before serving, then ladle over your freshly-cooked noodles and ta-da! Pho!

Bowl o' good!

Bowl o’ good!

Sorta-recipe Just Real Quick:

Broth:
– 2 shallots, one small carrot, ginger to taste: finely chop these and fry in a little oil.
– 6 cups of strong vegetable stock, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, 3 whole cloves and a little crushed Szechuan pepper, a generous splash of soy sauce, and a small handful of dried shiitakes. Pour this over the frying vegetables and bring to a boil. Leave in the hot pot to stay warm for a while — a couple of hours, if possible.

Cold things:
– Lime or lemon wedges
– Extra sauces (soy sauce, sriracha, etc.)
– Bean shoots
– Fresh mint, coriander or basil
– Finely chopped shallots

Hot things:
– Thickly slice and fry some firm tofu.
– Blanch some broccoli florets — or whatever vegetables and things you feel like adding.
– Cook a serve of noodles per person in quickly boiling water.

Put the noodles in the bowls and ladle boiling broth over them, making sure you scoop up some of the vegetables cooked in the broth and avoiding the chunky spices. Serve with the Cold things and Hot things! BAM. You just made pho, you crazy suckah. Whatcha gonna do next?

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