Oh yeah, well Pho you! (October Daring Cooks)

Pho, pronounced fuh, is one of my favorites. A traditional Vietnamese noodle soup with all those great condiments that send it over the top in flavor.

Let’s get the fineprint out of the way.

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

Actually that isn’t the whole truth. I chose to do the beef version from scratch and that recipe is located here.

So to keep things short and sweet I will give only the “cliff notes” here.

Start by parboiling some beef knuckle or marrow bones. Parboiling and then rinsing makes a clearer stock possible by removing most of the impurities.

Just a quick 10 minutes under boil and then rinse and clean out your pot to start the process over. This time add in your toasted spices, star anise, coriander seed, fennel seed, cinnamon, and cardomom all wrapped in a sachet.

The next oh so important step in the broth preparation is charring of the ginger and onions. The charring adds a complexity to the stock that is absolutely crucial to the dish.

So for the stock it is the charred ginger and onion, the toasted spices, some brown sugar, about a 1/4 cup of fish sauce, and the par-boiled marrow bones. Let them come to a slow simmer. I like to only put part of the pot over the heat so that a raft develops on the opposite side. After about 3 hours of slow simmering, I added in a well seared pot roast that had been seasoned simply with salt and pepper.

Not only does this richen the stock, but it also provides and excellent addition to the finished soup. Let the roast finish to tender in the stock for about 90 more minutes. This is what it looks like after almost 5 hours and lots of skimming.

And now after straining through paper towels and de-fatting.

That was the hardest part of the whole process. Everything else is fairly quick and simple. I tasted the broth to check and took the opportunity to add more salt.

I did decide to cook my rice noodles in the stock. I wanted to add more flavor to relatively plain tasting noodles. It worked. Also gave them just a little color. I was afraid that it would cloud the stock but it didn’t. Well at first it did but then it cleared again. Use the time it takes to cook the noodles to ready your condiments.

Here we have the thin sliced pot roast, thin sliced ribeye, basil, mint, cilantro, red onion, bean sprouts, and finely chopped Thai chiles. I ended up chopping up the herbs for serving.

Make a bowl with what you like. I like lots of everything.

Now add in some sambal oelek (chile garlic sauce), hoisin sauce, and as much of the boiling beef broth as you care for. Viola!


Now for the second part of the challenge. Dessert. We were asked to prepare a deep fried sweet wonton. Immediately upon reading the dessert portion of the challenge a sick and twisted idea popped into my head. I have decided to call it the “Dead Elvis”.

Simple as can be. On a wonton wrapper spread a bit of your favorite peanut butter, top with some bananna slices, and a bit of cooked bacon.

Wet the edges with eggwash and then top with another wonton. I used a fork to crimp the edges.

Now gently deep fry in 360F oil. I splashed oil on to the top while frying and then flipped and did the same on the second side.

Elvis was definitely on to something here. I am not much for sweets but this was so good. Crispy, salty, creamy, and sweet. A great mix for an unusual dessert.


~ by climbhighak on October 13, 2009.

41 Responses to “Oh yeah, well Pho you! (October Daring Cooks)”

  1. I won’t let you kill the duck… Wonderful pho version you made!

  2. Awesome pics, and I love your wonton raviolis! Mmmm bacon PB and bananas, three of my favorite things….

  3. I loved your Pho. Very beautiful. Interesting wontons, too

  4. Your pho looks amazing! *drool*

  5. Robert your posting is making me *drool* the photos are WONDERFUL and that stock looks and sounds delicious. You must have a lot of friends since this cooking cannot go to waste. And the wonton well I’m sure it tasted good I would even try it once and love it but my heart would’t. That photo of the pho looks perfect. Bravo bravo bravo, it good to hear that you can get most ingredients in the far north. Cheers from Audax in Australia. OBTW thanks for your kind works in the forums.

  6. Wow, wow, wow. Your pho looks absolutely fantastic. I also made the long version of the beef recipe and I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. Great job!

  7. Your dessert is MADNESS! I love it. Absolutely nothing can go poorly with bacon. Your pho looks delicious as well. Interesting tip with putting the pot over half the heat. I will have to try this. =)

  8. Robert,
    Fantastic job on this Challenge. I bet the added seared pot roast gave your stock a much richer flavor. Ours was good, but the spices overpowered the beef flavor. Also love your wontons!

    • I think it did help with giving the stock more beef body. It was also a nice addition when sliced thin for the soup. Not only that but it makes for a really tasty sandwich later on. You get a hint of all the spices used in the stock even cold and used on a sandwich.

  9. That is one good-looking pho. But I am not showing my husband this post — he will want the peanut butter-banana-bacon dessert. Now.

  10. Gorgeous looking pho! Love the addition of sambal. Love the wonton to!

  11. Could eat w whole, big bowl of your Pho! The idea of peanut butter, bannana and bacon… hmm, sounds intruiging and I would love to try it. Great job and text – as always. Cheers! 🙂

  12. That’s some beautiful-looking pho! I love how you used more than 1 cut of beef. Great work, and your wontons are especially creative too.

  13. Gorgeous looking pho you made, but that dessert… is just way too good… I am drooling over my screen just looking at it!

  14. Cute title =D. Everything looks lovely & the wontons sound delicious!

  15. Your Pho looks fantastic, great photos as usual, have you ever thought of submitting them to a stock library? iStock would be a good start.

    • I have not thought of submitting to a stock agency. However you are the second person in a short time to suggest the same thing. I will have to contact you with some questions as soon as I finish the job I am on.

  16. Looks fantastic! Actually, I think yours look a million times better than mine! And your wontons – how fun!

  17. What a PHO-Tastic job you did once again!!! I’m sure the additon of the pot roast fortified your broth and then you get extra meat as well. I like the idea of cooking the pasta in the broth, in that way the pasta absorbs some of the flavor goodness. I see that you’re generous w/ the chilis oh my!
    As for your fried wantons…yes, it’s sick!!! in a good way. I’m so making this!

    • I did the noodles in water the first time and I could taste that they were watering down my bowl. So I said the hell with clouding the stock and cooked the noodles in the stock. They took on a bit of color and also the savory taste of the stock. It is the best way to do the noodles in my opinion. The stock ended up staying very clear.

  18. Your wontons are to die for and your bowls of pho look like they are overflowing with goodness. I wish I could have had some of your meal!

  19. OMG! Robert, that looks Amazing! I want an invite for that dinner! Yum! And the fried wontons! *swoon*

  20. Your pho looks flippin’ fantastic! And the “Dead Elvis” wontons rock. It would be a delicious bit of irony if our next challenge was duck.

  21. Those charred onions look delish!! You know I don’t eat sweets but your dessert is tempting! I think my sugars could handle that. Look forward to reading your next challenge.

  22. Please don’t kill the poor duck..I’m typng my comment as fast as I can. ..;)
    I love your pho, really great pho-tos too! I love your wontons, bacon in something sweet? I’m trying to imagine what that taste like, I still have lots of wrapper left, I think will give it a try 🙂

  23. Oh man, does the beef version ever look good. I was planning on making my broth from scratch too.. but unfortunately the chicken I had purchased was rancid.. so I had to make due with what I had on hand. I am sure that making it from scratch makes it that much more flavourful! I am not sure what say about the wontons.. 🙂 probably one of those things that sounds odd but tastes delicious! Great creativity!

  24. Well I am ready to give the “Dead Elvis” wontons a try! That was really a fun recipe. Your photos are wonderful … would love to know more about what type of camera you use, lens etc! Thanks … Debbie

    • You are going to laugh. I use a Sony DSC W-150 point and shoot. I do use the macro setting in the program mode with the color balanced as best as I can. I have 15 years of experience in film, television, and still photo production so I do know a thing or two about lighting. I almost always use natural light from my kitchen window.

      Then in photo shop I tweak the levels, color balance, saturation, and just a little bit of the unsharp mask filter.

  25. Interesting tip, adding a roast to the broth. I simmered chuck in the broth, but I’ve heard adding pre-roasted meat can add to the flavour… Guess I’ll have to give it a try. I love your wonton idea!

  26. The roast wasn’t pre roasted. It was only seared on the outside. It did 90% of it’s cooking in the stock. Think of what a pot roast does to normal braising liquids.

  27. I absolutely love the “Dead Elvis” wontons! Those are great 🙂 Your pho came out beautifully, love the “glowing” from the sunlight.

  28. Holy sheet, Robert, you have charred onion envy? Well. I have charred onion, toasting spices, beef marrow envy! My god, your photos are spectacular and everything looks PHOKING incredible. No idea why you’re not doing this for a living,…you’re so damn talented! LOVE the Elvis wonton..I can alnost taste the sweet, smoky, creamy ‘nuttiness’. You are amazing! BTW – up this late because I went to last night’s game…GO YANKS!!

  29. Stunning photos! It looks so colourful and appetising and you did an amazing job 🙂

  30. Robert, how in the hell did you not do the sushi challenge? I couldn’t wait to see what you came up with, and now I’m pouting..lol With all that fresh fish in AK and your creativity, you would have blown that challenge out of the water (no pun intended).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: