Here I go with a serious food blogger problem. I love soup, and my family, not so much. Very annoying. They will begrudgingly have soup for dinner but will ask, ‘what’s for main course’ as they slurp their last spoonful. Gah. They have become so spoilt. You wouldn’t believe how anything less than a perfect meal can put this family in a mood.
Now mum, mum isn’t so picky, she will eat anything. So when its just mum and I, I grab the opportunity with both hands and make soup. A few weeks ago dad and Liz went to see Black Sabbath and mum and I stayed in, watched Deliverance and ate Pho. Hooray.
Now while very tasty, this dish is not necessarily easy to say. It is pronounced ‘fuh’ no ‘fo’, make sure you’re saying it right.
1kg beef bones or oxtail
2 tbs salt
1 large onion, quartered, skin on
3cm knob of ginger, halved lengthways
1 cinnamon stick
4 star anise
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbs white sugar
500g rice noodles
1/2 white onion, finely sliced
2 stems of shallots, greens finely sliced
400g trimmed eye fillet or sirloin, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of coriander, picked
1/2 bunch of mint, picked
1/2 Asian basil, picked – you can use regular basil if you like, its not traditional but the sweet flavour of regular basil adds a nice touch I think
1 cup bean sprouts
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
In a large pot, cover beef bones with cold water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and soak for half an hour, then drain.
On a baking tray place onions and ginger and bake for 20 minutes at 200. Add spices to the tray and bake for a further 5 minutes.
In the pot of drained beef bones, add 4 litres of cold water and bring to the boil. While boiling skim the top of any impurities. This should take about 15 minutes to get rid of all the scum. This step is important to ensure a clear, clean broth. Reduce heat and add onions, ginger, spices, salt, sugar, and fish sauce. Partially cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the stock has reduced by about half.
Strain stock through a muslin cloth and set aside. Check seasoning and adjust if required.
Blanch the noodles according to their instructions and divide among 4 bowls. Top with finely sliced beef, white onion and shallots. Pour over hot stock.
Serve with a platter of herbs, bean sprouts and sauces. Great winter warmer.