“Pho is life, love and all things that matter.” (Pham, M., 1997)
One of my favorite foods to eat is a classic VIetnamese dish called, pho–pronounced “FUH.” Admittedly, I never knew pho existed until I moved to the West Coast and my culinary pallet was expanded and exposed to so many “new” foods. Well, foods new to me. What can I say? I missed out on a lot of tasty grub growing up. I fell victim to eating what was familiar, readily accessible, and affordable in my environment. Anyways, I digress. Back to pho.
Conceptually, pho is rather simple: broth, rice noodles, and meat. However, the preparation of pho is rather laborious–well, at least for a novice pho-maker like myself. I’ve been meaning to find a recipe AND purchase ingredients AND make pho for quite some time. Finally, I did it. I found a couple of recipes, consulted with my brother, roamed around the global food market looking for specialty ingredients, and blocked off half a day to make my first batch.
I credit my pho-making success to author and teacher, Andrea Nguyen, of Vietworldkitchen.com. I searched the internet and reviewed several pho recipes and hers seemed to be the most comprehensive, authentic, and detailed. I slightly deviated from her recipe, but overall remained true to her pho expertise. I specifically referenced her Chicken Pho Noodle Soup Recipe (yields 8 servings).
Below is what I did a little bit differently, but it still turned out EXCELLENT!
Instead of using a chunk of rock sugar, I substituted a tablespoon of regular white granulated sugar.
Instead of 4 whole cloves, I used 6 whole cloves.
I added Star Anise (a total of 40 star tips) to the broth spices.
Instead of boiling the chicken whole (on top of chicken parts), I pre-cut chicken into thigh/leg and breast quarters.
I added 1 additional tablespoon of fish sauce.
I didn’t use yellow onion or cilantro. Instead, I used fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, freshly squeezed lime juice, and jalepeños. I also added a little bit of Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce.
I encourage you to play around with optional garnishes. Have fun with it and enjoy!
Estimated (and Basic) Nutrition Facts: 8 total servings / 1 serving
(I only accounted for the chicken, noodles, and fish sauce)
Calories: 2750 / 343
Protein: 213 / 27
Carbohydrates: 360 / 45
Fat: 41 / 6
Sodium: 4275 / 535
After looking at the nutrition facts, I want to experiment with not using fish sauce, using significantly less, or finding a substitution that is not as high in sodium. Either that or drink 2 gallons of water after eating pho! Keep in mind I didn’t include the Sriracha and hoisin sauces (high in sodium) in this mini-nutritional breakdown. I also want to significantly reduce or eliminate sugar in the broth, especially if I use hoisin sauce in the bowls.
Still curious about pho? Here are a few websites dedicated to expanding the world’s knowledge about this tasty savory Vietnamese comfort food.
History of Pho Noodle Soup (The Viet World Kitchen)
The Origins of Pho (Pho Ever) <—I love the name of this website.
A Bowl of Pho: Vietnam’s Treasured Beef Noodle Soup That Brings Families Together (San Francisco Gate)
Pho! Vietnam’s Beautiful Legendary Soup (Food Origins TV)
I’m DEFINITELY doubling the recipe the next time I make it.