Sunday, October 25, 2009

vegetarian pho-king gold

Hey all.
So I have this odd sort of fascination with Pho, ever since I was introduced by a friend of mine. Something about it is therapeutic - maybe the spices and steam, or maybe that you're eating a gallon of broth and all the trimmings. Either way, I decided to take it on at home.


A lot of my friends are vegetarians, and my apartment is a sweat lodge at the moment. So simmering beef knuckles for eight or so hours just ain't gonna happen. Luckily, I found a pretty nifty veghead recipe online that still does the trick.

As follows (thanks

- Make eight cups of vegetable stock. You can use the cubes, or if you have some good homemade stuff, that's neat too. Again, sweatbox - I used the cubes.
- Put a large pot on medium-high heat, with nothing in it. Then toss:

  • 1 small unpeeled onion, quartered

  • 2 unpeeled shallots, halved

  • 8 garlic cloves, halved

  • a 1-inch piece of ginger, coarsely sliced

  • two 3-inch cinnamon sticks

  • 2 pods of star anise

  • 4 cloves
in. DO NOT (yes, I mean it) put olive oil or any such nonsense in. You basically want to burn these suckers - I have no idea why, but getting a good scorch on these things does the job. When you're content, and your apartment is smoky - toss in the broth and 3 tbsp of soy sauce. Simmer this sucker for twenty-five minutes and strain into another pot.
It'll look like this:

Then, cook some rice vermicelli (they look like sticks of rice) - about half a handful - according to package directions. Set these in bowls to keep warm.
No picture. I tried, it looks pretty fugly.

Toss on some sliced green onions, and prepare your platter of accoutrements.
I used

  • mint

  • lime

  • bean sprouts (big ones

Isn't that purty? Also, keep a bottle of this nearby:
You can find it at any respectable Asian grocer. Sriracha works too, but I like the chunky stuff where you can see pieces of garlic and chilis. - I used a Vietnamese place nearby for everything in this recipe. It also totalled about.. twelve dollars for four LARGE (there is no other way with Pho) servings.

{Side note: I heard a story once about a guy who went to the address on the back of the bottle, and it was an empty lot. Thus is the mystery of the most amazing hot sauce in the universe. I use it on pizza and eggs like it's going out of style, and has already shown up in next year's American Apparell catelog.}

To finish!
- Top your noodles and onions with broth. Use a massive bowl. Trust me. You'll eat it all.
- Rip up some mint (or basil, that's nice too.) leaves and toss them on.
- Toss in a handful of sprouts
- Squeeze a lime wedge
- Stir in some hot sauce

and voila:
Giant bowl of Vietnamese cure-all.

{Side note the second: Pho is apparently pronounced "fuh" - think of that next time you go to the Pho-King.}

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