Soup To Satisfy A Pho-natic!

So the BF got me a Flip video camera for Christmas and I’ve been experimenting with it [Read: Figuring out how it works]. Thus far I haven’t made a video that could be posted without editing (shockingly, not many meals can be cooked and filmed in under 5 minutes to fit the YouTube standard) and my poor little laptop doesn’t have the memory to edit video. But soon there will be Bacon & Other Bad Habits videos! I’ll let you just take a moment to imagine all the potential kitchen catastrophe and debauchery…Yes, there will be wine involved, that much is certain. Yes, potentially even before noon.

One of our favorite meals is the Vietnamese beef and broth soup known as Phò and it is our go-to “I don’t want to cook, let’s go eat out somewhere” meal. While the Asian markets do carry the spice mixture that purports to make this delicious broth I’m nervous to try to make it at home. (This is truly a case of why mess up a good thing?). However, that doesn’t mean I can’t take my inspiration from phò and the Vietnamese and make a rice noodle brothy soup with beef. Not in the least!

Since I haven’t yet got that whole editing/posting thing together, here’s a recipe that I filmed and then pulled the stills out. The images are a little blurrier than the usual, but you still get the idea. Plus, maybe later on you’ll get a bonus video prize when I hire a middle school-er to figure out newfangled technology. Kids these days. Your bonus prize for now is that this sucker is really really cheap to make, super filling, and notta lotta calories. For the win! All ingredients can be found at an Asian market or specialty grocer (Whole Foods carries all this stuff, even the lemongrass, if your local grocer doesn’t have it).

Vietnamese-style Beef Noodle Soup
–TBSP sesame oil
–cooking spray
–small onion, diced
–garlic, minced
–TBSP chile-garlic sauce
–TBSP fish sauce
–TBSP lime juice
–TBSP soy sauce
–jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, diced fine
–red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
–1 lemongrass stalk, ends discarded (slice this if you will plan to eat it in the soup, otherwise leave whole so you can discard it after cooking)
–4 thin steaks (I used top round), sliced crosswise into long, thin pieces
–TBSP sesame seeds
–black pepper
–cilantro, dried or fresh chopped
–2 cups beef broth
–1 cup chicken broth

–8 oz. medium (marked Pad Thai or Banh Pho) rice noodles (about 1/2 of a typical 16 oz. package)
–green onion, chopped into 1/4″ rings
–Thai basil leaves (optional)

Heat a large pot over medium heat. After a few minutes spray with cooking spray and add the sesame oil to allow the oil to coat the pan. Sauté onion and garlic under fragrant and onion begins to get translucent. Add the chile-garlic sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice and stir to combine. Add the jalapeno and red bell pepper and saute for a few minutes before adding the lemongrass.

Lemongrass is a spiky little critter that will add tons of flavor to and is a staple of Asian dishes. If you want to try to eat the lemongrass I recommend soaking it in warm water for 30 minutes before cooking it. Otherwise it is a non-soluble fiber that stabs at the gums when one attempts to chew it…so like a bay leaf feel free to put in a whole stalk or one that has been chopped in half and then remove it after the cooking process is complete.

Season the steak pieces with sesame seeds and fresh cracked black pepper. If using dried cilantro, season the steaks with this now. If using fresh cilantro, add it at the end. Add the meat to the pot and stir to combine the mixture

Add the broths and water and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice noodles and cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid. If using large lemongrass stalks, fish out and discard. Add the chopped green onion and Thai basil (I chopped mine up). If using fresh cilantro, add it now as well. Stir to combine. Serve! To add more spice, add more chile garlic sauce or use what I call “Rooster” (but is really known as Sriracha).

Dammit Jim, I’m a cook, not a doctor…
Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6
Calories: 272 per serving

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One Comment

  1. Shorty
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    That sounds REALLY yummy, I'll have to attempt sometime 🙂

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