I LOVE pho! If you aren't yet acquainted with this delicious Vietnamese soup, let me introduce you. Pho (pronounced 'fuh', like funk) is a Vietnamese staple; the daily meal, but honestly, this is what I'd serve at my wedding (if and when I ever get married). The key to good pho is the broth. After that, you can pretty much put whatever you'd like in it. Typical pho ingredients include thinly sliced rare beef, beef tendon, and tripe (as in pho dac biet, my fav!), but can also include seafood, mushrooms, egg, etc. All good pho is surely made with a large helping of vermicelli noodles. It's up to you to garnish the dish, but the usual ingredients are scallions, chinese basil, bean sprouts (which I generally omit), hot green chiles, a squeeze of Sriracha, and a teaspoon of hoisin. Yumm! My mouth is watering right now! Ok, so here's the recipe for the pho pictured.
Makes 2 servings
2 cups good chicken, vegetable, or beef stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon nuoc cham or nuoc mam
1 teaspoon hoisin
2 handfuls dried vermicelli noodles
1 scant cup sliced shitake mushrooms (fresh or dried)
scallions, thinly sliced
hot red and green chiles
1 Pour boiling hot water over the dried vermicelli and allow to hydrate for 20 minutes. If using dried mushrooms, hydrate the mushrooms in a separate bowl using about a 1 cup of boiling water.
2 Meanwhile, combine stock, water, mirin, soy, nuoc cham, and hoisin in a 4qt pot and bring to a simmer.
3 While the stock is heating, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Salt gently and lower heat slightly. Stir the water to create a whirlpool and crack one egg into the center, increase heat to high and allow to cook until whites bind together, about 2 minutes. Once cooked, remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the other eggs.
4 If using dried mushrooms, add mushrooms and soaking liquid to the simmering broth, stopping before reaching the grit at the bottom. If using fresh mushrooms, add them to the broth and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5 Remove soup from heat. Drain vermicelli thoroughly and distribute among serving bowls. Pour soup over the noodles and top each serving with two eggs and scallions. Serve with garnishes on a plate.