Recipes. Musings. Portland. Tucson. Fusing Cultures Through Cuisine
Fighting The Cold with Quick Comfort… 11 Minute Pho – A Lazy Love Story.
Even I sometimes don’t feel the need to make dinner a huge vanity project. Cry me a balsamic reduction river – just feed me! Pho is bliss, but options for pho in Tucson just haven’t really been able to remind me of how awesome it really is. Making a bastardized version of pho at home is super simple. You can make it totally inauthentic yet delicious and eat in the comfort of your own home away from the prying eyes of purists.
Here is the recipe for the pho I made below but play around with it. This can essentially be a “whatever you have in the crisper/pantry” project. Add or omit as needed, try your own customized variation of this and make something that feels so wrong/right.
11-Minute Pho – Serves 4
2 tsp Sesame oil
1 tbl grapeseed oil/canola oil (or anything neutral in taste)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
8 oz of mushrooms (crimini actually worked nicely in this recipe but if you have woodear go full force!)
15 Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tsp finley grated garlic
1 tsp finley grated ginger
¼ tsp of coriander powder
¼ tsp of black pepper powder
1 tsp red chili powder (freshly ground Japanese dried chilies are the best)
3 cups stock (veg, chicken, beef – your choice. I used chicken for mine)
10 oz cubed firm tofu
2 tbl – soy sauce
1 tbl – fish sauce
1 tomato quartered (roma, although if you have access to sexy delicious brandywine tomatoes, please don’t let me stop you)
2 tsp – curry masala *optional* (I used a little leftover tikka masala from a curry I made earlier but you can use any curry paste you have in a pinch) ** see note below
2 scallions, chopped
1 lime, quartered
4 oz cooked mung bean thread (chilled)
Handful of cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
In a 4-quart sauce pan heated to high heat add your canola and sesame oil with the onions and bay leaf with a hearty pinch of salt. Sauté the onions for 2 minutes until it just starts to brown along the edges. Add mushrooms and Brussels sprouts and sauté on high heat until you start to see a nice little golden brown “hug” around the edges of the mushroom (ref. pic). Bring to low heat and add the ginger, garlic, coriander and black pepper and sauté for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the chili powder and sauté for another 1-2 minutes and then stir in your chicken broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, tofu and curry paste(if desired). Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Season to taste, add mung bean thread and garnish with scallion, cilantro, and lime.
Now all you need is your favorite pair of chopsticks and some well-trained slurpin’ muscles.
** I am always trying to find ways to add different layers of flavor to my stocks. When I am not using a homemade stock – I am desperate to find some kind of addition to trick my palate into thinking I am. To do this I use a bunch of different techniques, but my favorite thing to do is to search my fridge for curry pastes I’ve made. I take a tsp and dilute it thoroughly in some water and then add it to stock. Any flavorful sauces you have will do in a pinch! Red chili sauces, moles, certain béchamel work wonders and If you add just a smidgen you can add a lot of really great flavor to your soup without completely changing the flavor profile. If you make/buy a really great Thai curry or Indian curry you can do the same thing just freeze the curry sauce in teaspoon increments and add one or two to your next non-homemade stock.