While Mai was here, she was able to cook the family a wonderful Vietnamese dinner. One of the dishes that I had heard so much about was Pho- a fragrant broth with bits of meat and noodles.
The first thing we did was go shopping!
Here are the ingredients for the Pho:
Beef leg bones
1 cinnamon stick
3 anise stars
1 large hunk of ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon MSG
1 sirloin steak/fillet
The first step to making this broth is to par boil the beef leg bones. This means that you are boiling the bones for a few minutes, rinsing them off and starting with new, fresh water. Par boiling helps you to remove any impurities from the leg bones.
Take the bones and submerge them in a pot filled with water. Boil away for a few hours. Mai told me that a short cut is to use beef broth. I wanted authentic Pho, the way her mother cooks so I didn't take any shortcuts.
While that is boiling, grill the onion and ginger.
Add the spices: cinnamon stick, anise, salt and MSG. Mai mentioned that her mother adds extra cinnamon during the winter months.
Let that boil for hours. When the broth is fragrant and beefy enough for you, it is ready!
Slice the meat very thin. Put the thin strips into a ladle and submerge into the broth. This only takes about 20 seconds - just enough to cook the thin strips.
Make sure your toppings are ready. Cook the Pho noodles and drain.
Put the broth into a bowl. Add a handful of noodles, meat and the toppings you desire.