Yup, I said it. I’m a white girl making a classic Vietnamese dish. I’m in no way shape or form trying to adhere to traditional recipes, hence the White Girl part of this version of Pho.
Pho is defined by Wikipedia as “A Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine shaped rice noodles, a few herbs and meat.” Pho is a traditional breakfast food, and is named after its particular rice noodles. I used Japanese Somen noodles in my version, once again, not traditional.
I was inspired to try my hand at Pho after planning an impromptu dinner party with friends. We’d made a delicious Asian pork roast in the slow cooker, and had quite a few leftovers. Rather than cook an involved meal, why not take the delicious pork and recreate it as…Pho?
I’m not a big fan of soup, so I made mine with less broth than a traditional Pho and added lots of blanched zucchini “noddles” to accompany the Japanese Somen noodles I used (which I selected based on our grocery store’s limited selection of Asian noodle choices). With the zucchini noodles a small amount of the Somen noodles (or any noodle) goes a long way, and you could absolutely replace the Somen or other noodles with Shirataki noodles (or Miracle Noodles) for a lower calorie and wheat/gluten free meal.
We made a “Pho bar” for us and our friends with Hoisin sauce, Sriracha sauce, water chestnuts, scallions and cilantro, for guests to top their Faux Pho. The verdict? Delicious. I would absolutely do this again for a dinner party or just a simple weekday meal to use leftover meat.
~Here’s what you’ll need~
8 Cups of Beef broth
3 Star of Anise (a speciality spice, you can find it at Asian markets or mixed in Asian seasonings. If you’re a fan of Asian foods like myself, definitely search it out)
1 Tablespoon of fresh grated Ginger
A few dashes of high quality ground cinnamon (or a couple sticks of cinnamon)
3/4 to 1 lb of leftover meat (try making this Asian pork dish the day before)
1 Package Somen Noodles (or noodles of choice)
3 Zucchinis, thin sliced (use a mandolin or veggie peeler)
4 Scallions finely chopped
Cilantro, leaves separated (as much as you want for topping)
1 5 Ounce can Water Chestnuts
Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha Sauce
Combine the beef broth, Star of Anise, ginger, and cinnamon. Let the broth come to a boil, turn down to simmer and add in the leftover meat. Let simmer for at least a half hour.
While the broth and meat are simmering prepare the zucchini strips. Once prepared, blanche (place in boiling water for 2 minutes, remove and run under cool water to stop cooking process) and cool. Feel free to replace zucchini with your vegetable(s) of choice.
Prepare the scallions, cilantro and water chestnuts (just drain the water chestnuts) and put out for toppings along with the sauces.
5 minutes before serving prepare the noodles by placing in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, draining, and portioning into bowls.
Top noodles with the broth and meat mixture (remove Star of Anise as you would Bay Leaves before serving). Add in some zucchini “noodles” and allow guests to top as desired!
This version comfortably serves 5 adults.