I like Pho. I grew up on the national dish of Vietnam. If you’ve never had it, I feel sorry for you. It’s got a light but flavorful beef broth flavored with five spice, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. When you order it you get a side plate of lime wedges, thai basil, cilantro, jalepeno, and bean sprouts. If you’re at a proper Pho selling establishment, you’ll quickly receive a big bowl filled with broth and rice noodles topped with raw thinly sliced beef. The heat from the broth cooks the raw beef perfectly. I always order Pho with the beef raw and on the side to ensure that the kitchen dosen’t pre-blanch the meat for the american pallete. If your Pho shop won’t serve you this way, find another pho shop.
The problem with Pho is that I live in Houston. Summer is nearing, the temperature was over 90 degrees today. So a big hot bowl of piping hot soup… not exactly seasonal. So I decided to see if I could transform this classic soup into a salad.
The result was perfect. All of the flavor of Pho, without the warming broth… here’s how I did it.
1 carton of beef broth (cause I wasn’t going to simmer one for hours).
1 Stalk of lemongrass, bruised.
3 cloves of garlic, smashed.
1 half sweet onion.
4 green onions.
1 (thumb sized) piece of fresh ginger, smashed.
2 Star Anise.
1 Tspn Fennel Seed.
1 Tblspn Sechwan Peppercorn.
1/2 Tspn (Vietnamese) Cinnamon.
^Pressure cook that shit, 20 minutes, slow release.
2 cups of seasoned broth (above) strained. Reduce to about 1/3 of a cup.
After broth is reduced, add:
1 tspn fish sauce.
2 tspn Siracha Sauce.
2 tspn Hosin Sauce.
2 tblspn grapeseed oil.
1/16th tspn xanthan gum (two tiny pinches, to hold immulsion).
Cook a small strip steak 54 Celsius in your circulator using the sear-sous vide-sear method. My steak was pretty thin so I opted for the blow torch as my searing device.
Fill a large pot with water and the remaining seasoned beef stock. bring to a rapid boil and cook 1/4 package of Banh Pho (Fettuccini sized rice noodles). Once the noodles are al dente, drain and rinse the noodles. Toss the noodles in the dressing with:1 cup bean sprouts, Mint, Thai Basil, Cilantro, and green onions to taste.
I also made a Pho-spiced vodka to drink with the salad. I used the iSi pressure infusion technique with Tito’s Vodka, Lemongrass, Cilanro, Thai Basil, Ginger, Jalepeno, Clove, Star Anise, Fennel, Sechwan peppercorn, and gralic. I served this in a stemless snifter- straight up room temp. It was awesome, the heat and herbal flavors of pho, a slight vodka bite. I think it would also be VERY good with ice and tonic water.
Dress the plate.