Wednesday, January 21, 2009


We often do things that seem a little extreme... bothersome and well... a little fanatical. This was definitely the case when I decided to make a beef broth for pho (Vietnamese beef noodles) from beef bones that I had picked up recently from the butcher. This is a recipe adapted from Secrets of the Red Lantern by Pauline Nguyen, drawing from the dishes from her popular Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney.

2 beef shin bones (get your butcher to chop these into smaller pieces)
1.5kg beef shin
1 whole free range chicken
120g dried ginger
20g cinnamon
4 cloves
100g caster sugar
70g rock salt
100ml fish sauce
1 bulb ginger cut in half and char grilled
2 onions chargrilled in their skins

Cover bones, chicken and beef in cold water with 2 tablespoons salt and leave for 2 hours. Discard water and scrub bones.

Return into pot and fill with 8 litres cold water. Add dried ginger, cinnamon and cloves wrapped in a muslin cloth and boil on high heat, skimming to remove scum.

Add sugar, salt and fish sauce and simmer for a further 2 hours. Remove beef shin and cover with stock - leave to cool.

Fill pot to 8 litres again and reduce flame to simmer for 5 hours. Skim excess oil off surface of broth.

Strain broth and discard ingredients. Wrap ginger and onions in muslin cloth and add to pot to cook for further 2 hours. Season to taste. Serve piping hot with freshly boiled pho topped with finely sliced onions. spring onions, sliced beef shin. Provide thai basil, sliced red chilli, lemon wedges and beansprouts as accompaniments.

This recipe will probably take you over 2 days to prepare, but you'll learn to develop a deeper appreciation for this dish. But a word of warning... you just may become a pho-natic too.


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