Sunday, March 25, 2012

Our Attempt at Homemade Pho

I'm sure you've figured this out by now, but Joey and I love Vietnamese food--especially Pho. Problem is, the nearest Vietnamese restaurant is an hour away, so we usually don't get it unless we've planned a trip for wedding stuff or something. We knew that making it was time consuming and pretty tricky, but when I found out that there was an organic pre-made beef pho broth, we thought hey, this might work!

So a couple weeks ago, Joey and I headed to the new organic grocery store in lexington to pick up the broth and the other ingredients we needed. Broth in hand, we then spent perhaps ten minutes searching for rice noodles (which we knew they had a month or two before). No dice. Next we checked for bean sprouts. again, nothin'. Having already been to walmart, we didn't want to go back there, so we headed to Kroger. We were able to snag some basil, but they didn't have bean sprouts either. So to MacGyver the crunchiness of the bean sprouts I thought we'd try another common Vietnamese ingredient: cabbage. We also found the rice noodles, and headed back to my apartment to get things cooking. 

Joey prepped the steak while I diced some onions and got the noodles ready for the broth. The moment I poured it into the pot, I knew this wasn't going to be quite right. The boxed broth was a cloudy, milky brown color, and normally beef pho broth, well...isn't. But kept working on it, adding all of the ingredients and mixing in some sriracha and hoisin like we always do. I took a whiff of the soup, which gave me more cause for concern. It smelled a little sweet and in general, funky. 

Joey and I sat down to eat, topped our bowls with the cabbage and a little more sriracha, got out the chop sticks, and took a bite. And the verdict?


It was all wrong. The broth completely lacked flavor, and what it did have was way too sweet--we're thinking a little too much star anise--ok, a lot too much. And I have no idea what they put in the broth to make it that cloudy color. The noodles were ok, but too much like regular vermicelli pasta. And the cabbage just didn't come through for us. Joey was able to eat his bowl (mostly because he was super hungry) but I could only manage a couple bites before I looked at Joey and said 'I can't do this. We're going to Wendy's'. And we did. And I loved it.

I guess this is what we get for trying to mess with a good thing! Looks like we will stick to our tried and true Vietnamese restaurants and trust the experts. But hey, it was an adventure, and at least we tried something crazy!

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