Monday, February 16, 2009


props to my favourite domestic photographer and ex-housemate, caitlin molloy for snapping this pic in melbourne's footscray.
May the seed of your loin be fruitful in the belly of your woman

After lots of tom-foolery and suddenly deciding that we were hungry RIGHT NOW, it was concluded that Alex and I should partake in a meal that we've both only previously had part of a couple of times and had never made before. I had bookmarked this recipe from Cathy's Gastronomy blog before I moved to Sydney (and was living within shouting's distance of Footscary, sigh!) let it completely slip my mind until last night.

Totally forgetting having been told by my other ex-housemate Riva that this was a hard dish to attain authenticity of (and maybe she would find this attempt of Phở to perhaps be an insult), we went ahead. I made a couple of changes based on what we had around us/didn't have/it was too late to go to the asian grocer to attend to/woolworth's had run out of stuff, but damn if I didn't fool myself into wanting to dive into this beautifully subtle broth.

I onlh took a coupla quick outta-focus snaps before the batteries ran out and my tummy started calling child protection services for neglect.

So an editted version of the original recipe looks like this: (for extra laziness I have literally copy+pasted the recipe from it's original source, cutting out and adding what we did and didn't do!)

For broth

  • 1 leek (leaves only)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 chunk of fresh ginger
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 Massel Chicken-style stock cubes.
  • Water
  • Soy sauce (Tamari for no Belly-drama!) to taste
  • Sugar also to taste.
Heat water (about 10-12 cups, depending on how many your serving) with chicken stock cube in a medium-sized soup pot, leaving enough room for the ginger, onion and leek leaves.

Remove the outer layer of the onion and add it whole to the broth. Leaving the skin of the ginger intact, chop off the nubs and bruise using a mortar and pestle. Add to broth. Separate the leek leaves from the stems and add them to the broth along with five star anise “fruits.” Let the soup boil on high heat for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the onion and ginger have softened.

Once the onion and ginger have softened, discard the leek leaves. Add seasonings of soy sauce and sugar to taste. Continue to cook on medium heat for an additional 15 minutes.

For “meat”
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 leek (stem only)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into circles
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped into strips
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms (any variety)
  • Soy sauce (Tamari!)
  • Black pepper
  • Dried chilli flakes
While the soup is boiling, thinly slice the leek stems and chop the mushrooms and zucchini.

Saute the leeks with vegetable oil in a medium-sized pan until golden. Add the mushrooms and zucchini to the leek and oil mixture. Season to taste with soy sauce, chilli and black pepper.

Get your lover/partner/best friend/housemate/some guy you see to pull a puss face pose and enjoy.

Grab a bowl and fill it with noodles (banh phở - fresh flat rice noodles preferable) and the “meat” mixture. Pour some hot broth on top. To garnish, add fresh or steamed bean sprouts, onions, cilantro, lime juice, herbs (basil, saw tooth herb, etc.), hoisin sauce and chili sauce.


Gastronomer said...

Lena - So glad to hear that your veggie/vegan pho turned out well! Take care and keep on cookin'.

Léna, said...

I'm so happy with how this turned out that I'm going to make it again and again and agian!!