Vietnamese Pho Stir Fry

We made a most amazing Vietnamese Pho Soup last weekend.  Having obtained most of the ingredients from a Vietnamese grocer in the Strip District of Pittsburgh (a wonderful place to visit when in ‘The ‘Burgh’), I had no idea of what to do with all the left over Thai Basil (which tastes like fennel). Pho beef broth filled with the strange and delightful scents of coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and I’m not sure what all else, the overarching impression one of sassafras; I needed to make something or I’d lose that New Years resolution to keep my fridge science experiment free.  I kept thinking about risotto, but risotto, an Italian dish, has nothing at all to do with a kitchen full of Asian ingredients. Then the idea of preparing a stir fry using the risotto method of slowly adding hot liquid to the rice came to mind. Wonderful cilantro, limes, ginger, scallions, thai basil, napa cabbage and garlic chopped and ready to saute, I was excited to enter uncharted territory. Asian vegetables and herbs are not only healthy, but beautiful.

Pho Soup broth becomes the hot liquid that the rice absorbs.

A large stainless steel saute pan has enough room for the vegetables and rice. Start by sauteing garlic and ginger until golden, then add in the rest of the vegetables

Once the vegetables begin to wilt a little, add the rice all at once and stir for about 2 minutes, or until combined.

Once it has been thoroughly tossed together, including the meat or shrimp, add the hot pho soup 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly at a low simmer till absorbed before adding more. Repeat this process until the rice is plump, tender and cannot absorb any more liquid.  It will take about 20 minutes or so and you might have to add hot water for more liquid.

There you have it.  Simple and delish.  Top with extra chopped scallions and cilantro with a wedge of lime and it’s good to go.  I confess I used some of the leftover peanut satay sauce and some of the plum sauce to add flavor.  Did it to taste – maybe 1/4 cup of satay sauce and a few tablespoons of plum sauce.

Look at this pretty Napa Cabbage!

Scramble 2 eggs with a little salt and pepper, slice up and toss into the stirfry for extra protein. These eggs  happen to have been produced by our hens Edith, Agnes and Margo. 🙂

Vietnamese Pho Stir Fry (Risotto Method)

2 cups long grain white rice *might try arborio rice next time, or brown (but that would take a lot longer to cook)

5 cups pho soup base – chicken or beef broth works, but without the unique Pho spices

2 cups bean sprouts

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped fine

6 scallions, sliced on the bias. Reserve 2 for garnish

1 head Napa Cabbage, sliced thin

1 cup thin sliced beef, chicken or shrimp

1/4 cup Thai basil, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped.  Save 2 Tablespoons for garnish

2 limes, sliced into wedges

1 Tablespoon peanut oil

2 eggs, lightly scrambled in a bit of oil with salt and pepper, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons Braggs Liquid Amino’s or Soy Sauce

1/4 cup peanut satay sauce (if desired)

1 teaspoon hot sauce (if desired)

1/4 cup Asian Plum Sauce

Heat oil to sizzling.  Toss in and stir fry garlic and ginger till golden.  Add vegetables and stir until starting to soften a little.  Add rice all at once and stir to blend.  Add meat. Cook until rice begins to turn whiter.  Reduce heat to simmer (medium low).  Add hot liquid 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed, then adding more, 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup until all is absorbed and rice is tender.  You may not need all of the soup or you may need to add a little extra hot water.  This is the same way as preparing risotto – never stop stirring.  When finished stir in the Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s, peanut sauce and plum sauce to taste. Serve in bowls with a garnish of cilantro and scallions and a wedge of lime.  Pass the hot sauce.

Edith would appreciate a little recognition for the eggs.

2 thoughts on “Vietnamese Pho Stir Fry

  1. Thank you. It isn’t often we get to go into uncharted territory! What I did was to render the best points from professional recipes online. When I went shopping for the ingredients the Vietnamese grocer knew exactly how it should be made, and you can bet I threw my support behind his recipe. Here is a list of what he tossed in the basket: pre-measured packet of pho spices, a bundle of thai basil and cilantro, pho noodles, hoisin sauce and fish sauce. He told me to get ginger, limes, scallions and plenty of beef bones with marrow. The method for rendering the marrow bones is pretty messy. It amazed me at how much fatty foam I had to remove from the pot while boiling them down. When I was finished and the spices had been added and cooked for awhile – this took almost a day from start to finish – I set the pot in the refrigerator overnight and skimmed another 1/4 inch of fat from the whole thing. That makes a beautiful dark amber soup. To reheat the soup before serving I added about 1/8-1/4 of the fat back into the pot because
    most recipes said that a little fat improves the flavor. Still, when the delicious soup was finished, the kitchen cleaned, the day over I still found small areas around the kitchen where the fat had splashed. If I make it again I’ll prepare that soup base in large quantity and make enough to freeze for multiple uses to save both time and massive clean-up. The other thing I didn’t understand going in to this was how enormous the bowls must be to accommodate the building of the soup. You are pouring boiling broth over a bowl filled with fresh vegetables, herbs and raw or almost raw meat.

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