Recipe: Faux Pho

There always seem to be foods that are so much better to eat out in a restaurant than to try to make at home. To me, that’s any kind of Asian food. But time after time, I keep trying to make stir-frys and curries and every time, I end up saying, “it’s so much better to eat this out.” Yet again, I decided to try to make home-made Pho because Vietnamese restaurants are somewhat hard to find in my area. I decided late in the day so I didn’t have the time to make a bone broth (which is probably what makes the dish), so I’m calling it Faux Pho. Also, I tend to add extra veggies to everything I make (gotta get those 5 servings!), so Pho traditionalists might dispute my ingredients.

Faux Pho Recipe

For the broth:

1 box of good quality beef broth
1 large onion, quartered
1 inch section of fresh ginger, sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Mix these ingredients together and simmer over low heat for as long as you can, at least one hour.

Meanwhile, begin preparing the bowls.
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup chopped bok choy
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeño, sliced
1/4 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 lime, quartered

In deep bowls, place the green onions, carrot and bok choy. The remaining ingredients go on top of the soup.

Prepare the meat. Put the flank steak (or top sirloin) in the freezer so it’s easier to slice. Working against the grain on an angle, slice paper-thin strips of beef. If you like your meat really rare, you can go ahead and add the strips to the bowl on top of the vegetables. I seared the meat in a 400 degree oven for about 3 minutes just to give it a head start. Using a mesh strainer or spider, remove the onion, ginger and seasonings from the broth. Raise the heat to medium high for a few minutes, and once it’s smoking, pour the broth over the bowl of vegetables and steak. Top with the cilantro, jalapeño and bean sprouts, and squeeze a little fresh lime juice over the top.

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