As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, I was lucky enough to go to California with my father over Spring Break 2012! We went up to visit my aunt and uncle (where we got to eat a delicious meal!), but before that we went to San Francisco.
So. Many. Fantastic. Restaurants.
I was super excited to try some ethnic food in Chinatown, and so my father and I decided to visit this little restaurant, Golden Star, which was right by a beautiful park. I love Vietnamese food, especially when it is done well, and so I was super excited when they brought out a huge bowl of Beef Pho.
Now, you may be asking what Pho is. To simplify it, it is basically a Vietnamese Noodle Soup with your choice of toppings and a flavorful, deep broth. I was inspired by the complexity and flavor of the broth, which is meaty and contains spices such as star anise, corriander, and clove. If you have it with beef, the boiling broth actually cooks the meat (which is super cool!). You get the broth, thin noodles, and other toppings (such as bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, Hoisin, etc)! When I got back, I decided I would try to make Pho.
It was then that I realized I didn’t have 3 hours to boil broth and extract flavor out of meat bones.
But alas, I was desperate for Pho! I decided to try and make a simplified version; that, my friends, is how I created this Vietnamese-Inspired Beef Noodle Soup.
This dish is packed with pure deliciousness! The first thing that hits you is the aroma from the spices, which brings to mind a “clean” feeling. I really don’t know how else to explain it. It is such a zen and calming dish, and with every spoonful your taste buds are just loved with complexity and depth. Then, you take a spoonful of the broth, with a subtle beef and onion flavor and just a tiny hint of ginger. The rice noodles are tender, and a bite of the thinly sliced beef adds a richness and decadence to this very healthy and satisfying dish.
This dish is SUPER fun to make, and it is really easy! Somehow, I managed to get a lot of the flavors of the Pho without all of the hard work and beef bones (because truthfully I really don’t want to deal with cleaning bones…). This is a great dish for kids and adults, because it is easily customizable and VERY colorful (almost like a cooking art project!)
If you are hesitant, still try it! You will love it, trust me! Also, make sure not to leave out any of the ingredients because each one really does play a pivotal role in balancing the flavors.
I have the basic recipe below, but remember to serve it with
sides. Examples of foods that go well with this soup: Basil, Cilantro,
Bean Sprouts, Chiles, Bell Peppers, Hoisin, Lime Wedges, and Green
Serves 4 Serving Size: 1 c. noodles, 1c. broth, and 1/4 meat slices
- 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- cooking spray
- 1 tea bag/strainer (to hold spices)
- 2tsp whole coriander seeds
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 4c. low soduim beef broth
- 2c no salt added/ low sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2tsp sugar
- 1tsp fish sauce
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1/2lb (8 oz) beef, boneless, preferably eye of round, trimmed
- 6.75 ounce package rice sticks/noodles
Char the onion and ginger by placing them on a baking sheet, spraying with cooking spray, and broiling on HIGH until golden brown (for me, this too 10 minutes per side)
Meanwhile, begin heating beef broth and vegetable broth in a large pot. Put the coriander, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon into the tea strainer (or other holding device) into the broth. Bring to a boil. Add the charred onion and ginger and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring.
Cut beef into very thin strips. This can be done by placing in the freezer for 20 minutes, which makes the meat e