Hi everyone this week I am back to cooking because I really missed it. I will be doing some more sharpening videos in the future but this week I wanted to cook. So this week I decided on Vietnamese food! As anyone who knows me knows I love Vietnamese food. I love the flavors of Southeast Asian cooking whether it is Thai food or Vietnamese food or Laosian food.
This week I decided to make Pho Bo which is the favorite soup of Vietnam. The Pho Bo recipe I am making this week is a traditional pho recipe made of beef and noodles. Pho Bo is the national soup of Vietnam a place that used to be called “Tonkin” when the French occupied the country under something called the “French Protectorate.” When I was a kid during the time of Nixon Tonkin was called Indochina.
Pho soup whether it is Pho Bo(beef pho) or Pho Ga(chicken pho) is the mainstay staple of street side stalls and eateries throughout Vietnam! Vietnamese food is very popular in the United States these days and Pho soup is on top of the list. Most Americans pronounce pho as “foe” and this is not the correct way to say it. The Vietnamese people pronounce it someplace between “few” and “fuh”. I myself am guilty of mispronunciation of this word for years.
In Vietnamese food culture Pho soup even more Pho Bo is a kind of early fusion cuisine that is influenced most notable by French and Chinese. Pho Bo is a soup that has over a 100yrs history that began in the city of Hanoi. As far as Vietnamese Food is concerned Pho is considered to be the “meal of the people.” The traditional Pho recipe of Pho Bo is highly influenced by the French. The French Protectorate had occupied Vietnam from 1858 to 1954.
The French cooked a dish cooked a dish known as “Pot Au Feu”. This dish was the humble predecessor today’s traditional pho recipe and was made of meat and vegetables that were cooked in a rich broth. Way back in those early days beef was just about unheard of in that part of the world and the national meat was pork. Today in this type of Vietnamese food beef is readily available but pork is still #1.
As I stated the most important part of the Pho Bo is the broth. It can take 3 or more hours to simmer a good broth for Pho Bo and you want that broth to be as pure as possible before serving the soup. In the traditional pho recipe the broth is made from beef bones. Most notably the bones to be used are shank and knuckle marrow bones. You can also add meat to the broth mixture to help enhance the flavor of the Pho Bo. Cuts of meat like sirloin, chuck or even oxtail will help make your broth delicious!
Pho Bo is a very healthy soup and it is not the kind of beef soup that you want to skim all the fat from. A large majority of the fat will come from the marrow in the bones along with other constituents which are very healthful when eaten. In order to rid your Pho Bo of impurities it is necessary to blanch the bones for between 10 and 15 minutes to get the impurities out. Then the broth is made at a simmer. You want the simmer to be as low a flame as possible. The Vietnamese call this simmering process a “smile”.
So the traditional pho recipe was influenced by the French and today there are many variations in Vietnamese food especially pho in both Vietnam and America. Today a traditional pho recipe can and is made with more than just beef or chicken. Other parts of the animal are being used today to create haute pho recipes or what I call the new school traditional pho recipe in Vietnam. Parts such as kidneys, lungs, tripe, brisket, brain, udder, and yes even penis! Other ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu, sprouts, varied greens, and scallions are being used and the list goes on and on!
Today I will be making a simple beef pho(Pho Bo) using beef shank and knuckle bones, chuck roast and eye of round raw meat slices with a simple combination of herbs and spices in my bouquet garni. I know if you make this recipe you will love it. Enjoy the video and thanks for stopping by!