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I've got to say... while I love hoisin sauce and chilis as much as the next person, good pho broth by itself is so flavorful that I always regret adulterating it. Those marinated onions added a really nice flavor to it, though.


Thu's Pho can't even compete to the rest of her families Pho. Here are the official standing of the Nguyen PHO Fest of 2005:

1st Place: Tam (her little brother). My Pho kicked *ss!

2nd Place: Mom's Pho. (I don't know how she does it...she can't even taste her pho, she has no taste buds left...)

3rd place: Everybody ELSE in the family. Hmmmm Hmmmm good.

4th place: Asahi & Kirin (my Golden Retriever and Newfoundland). Puppy Chow Pho.

5th place: My Pet Rock's Pho.

6th place: Yen's Pho. (how she even placed was beyond me...every once in a while, a blind squirrel will even get a nut..)

Dead Last: Thu's Pho.

As you can see, Yen & Thu's Pho can't even compete with my smooth shiny rock's Pho. And unfortunately for Thu, her PHO was OFICIALLY deemed as the WORST Pho made in the family:

Quotes from Pho Fest 2005:

"Man...Aunt Thu's Pho is terrible...Uncle Tom's Pho is way better" Niece, Cleo

"Tam, you are right, your Pho is pretty good..." Sister, Samantha

"I traveled thousands of mile to tastes Tam's Pho..." Sister, Yen

"Is there anymore left?!!!!!" Nephew, Billy as he licked the BOTTOM of the Tam's Pho pot CLEAN (note: it took us TWO hours to dislodge him when his head got stuck!)


ha ha ha ha


If only we could convince her to share her recipe with the rest of us readers.

Tam, we'd be delighted to test your pho against Thu's any time! Give us a call and bring it over...

(Ah, the sacrifices we make for food journalism... rest assured, gentle readers, that our suffering is your gain)

Hey Tam, are you talking about the 05 contest that never was??? or was in your dream that you were beating your sis in cooking Pho?

Bring it on, little bro.

Kitchenchick and Joe will be our judges since they reviewed lots of other restaurants and they know what is good. No bias, right Joe and Kitchenchick??

Sean, you really want to make me work, putting the recipe up? I can post the ingredients, but when it comes down to the quantity, I have to really record it. My way was a pinch of this, a dash of that, and a handfull spices.

To eliminate any concerns about bias, we can do the taste test BLIND. We'll get someone who isn't judging and isn't a member of your family to set up the bowls for us, so we don't know which is which. (You'll have to send extra pho for them, because we'll need to feed them of course...)

I don't think my little bro want a rematch. I'll kick his butts.

I would love to teach you and others how to cook few of my favorite dishes. :)

Isn't that the way it always is with great recipes. It is so hard to document them. My grandmother has a cinnamon roll recipe along those lines. I even video taped her making them, but I still can't come close to her recipe.

As to your cooking lessons. You should host something. I bet there is a small but very interested group that would jump on such an opportunity.

Ok folks, here is the recipe. Please let me know if you don't understand the instruction.

Pho Recipe
Ingredients for the broth (approximate) for 8 quart stock pot:
-2lb beef bones
-2lbs beef brisket (optional)
-1 large onion
-1 piece of ginger about 3-4 inches
Spices: put all of the spices in a cheese cloth bag or bound it up in a cut up cheese cloth and use the twisty tie to tie it up.
-4 or 5 star anise
-3 cloves
-1 stick of cinnamon about 3 inches long
-4 cardamom
-5 slivers of licorise balk
-1 tbsp whole pepper
-1/4 cup salt, ¼ C. sugar & 2 tsp MSG ( you have to adjust according to your liking. You have to use MSG to achieve the pho taste.)

**Boil bones and beef brisket for about five mins, drain and wash before using it to make broth (this is the most important part of making pho!).
Put bones and beef brisket in a large pot and add enough water to cover, boil to make broth along with anise, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. Roast onion and ginger, clean, and add to broth.
Add salt and sugar to taste.
If you’re using beef brisket then remove the meat when tender (test by stabbing it with a chop stick, if the chop stick goes trough then it’s good to go).
Prepare everything as you would have for cooking on top of the stove, except for the beef brisket.
Put the stock pot into a 210 degree oven with cover on
Go to bed!
NOTE: Make sure to skim off the fat as it floats on top.
You can cook the beef brisket in another pot before you want to eat. Same direction as above.
Meat Choices:
There are many type of meats to decide on that goes into you pho.
-Gầu or nạm or chín = beef brisket, boil it in broth until tender, remove cool, and slice and add to noodles
-taí = steak, slice thinly, added to the noodles raw right before pouring on the hot broth; which will then “cook” the steak
-gân = beef tendons, also boiled in broth until tender, sliced, and added to noodles
-Lá Sách = beef tripe, boiled speretly, sliced and added to noodles
-Bò Viên = beef meat balls (buy them premade)

For the noodles:
-bánh phở (pho noodles, dry or fresh)

Prepared ahead/Condiments:
-Bean sprouts
-basil (lá quế), saw tooth herb (ngò gai)
-jalapeno pepers, thinly sliced
-lime wedges
-fish sauce, hoisin sauce, pepper sauce
-1 onion, sliced into thin strips
-1 bunch green onions and cilantro. Chopped and mixed together and put it aside
-black peper
To "Make" the Pho:
If you use dry noodles:
-Soak noodles in hot tap water for at least ½ hr or until it soften
-Drain and set aside for later
To assemble the bowl of Pho:
-Boil noodles in a pan with desired amount until cook approximately 2 minutes, drain and add to bowl, topped/add meats (your choice), and add ladle of the hot broth. Sprinkle some chopped green onions, cilantro, sliced onion, and ground black pepper. Serve with bean sprouts, basil, saw tooth herb, jalapeno slices, lime juice, etc...

I just doubt I could ever make it at home like some of the good viet places. Hunter Cashdollar

An even quicker way to make Pho is with a pressure cooker. Speeds up the process tremendously!! No more waiting several hours for the broth. This is the first time I've seen licorise balk in Pho. I guess each type of Pho has its twist and the owner's personal touch.

My sister used this process also, and I can't recall if the flavor is any difference or not. I have not try it yet, but I will one of these days to see if there is a difference in the flavor.

However, from the professional chef statement on slow simmering process of making a good stock:
"The slow simmering does not agitate the stock enough to break apart the proteins which have flocculated, or clumped together. There is no need for skimming or any attention between the time it is put in the oven and the time it is finished cooking. There is no focused heat source as there would be with a burner so there is essentially no great clean-up since nothing cooks onto the bottom of the stockpot. Also the oven remains clean, unless your overfill the stockpot. Another plus is there is no work necessary between the time the stockpot goes into the oven and the time it comes out" Pop the baker

He was the one who showed me the slow in the oven process of making a good stock overnight.

The slow oven method sounds like a great method of making good stock but it would probably cost me more (we have gas) then just using a pressure cooker plus if I feel like eating Pho or any other noodle dish, I can make it in less than 2 hours. I can't wait overnight. ;)

Another thought....Thu's oven method can also be done with a crockpot on low. I also made Pho using this method.

Thanks thu for sharing the recipe and ingredients that you posted. I gotta try a vietnamese food tomorrow!

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