I had to have more Pho and I had to have it now. But we went out because the recipes were overwhelming, it takes too long to make and it is dirt cheap in restaurants. Oxtails? Beef knuckles? Star Anise Pods? Where do I even buy such things?

Then came the news that I had made it to Challenge #2 for the Project Food Blog and the challenge was a classic dish from a culture you aren’t familiar with.  There was no question in my mind and I’d be making Pho sooner than I thought.

Pho is a dish that I have never made or never attempted, but if you follow me on twitter, you know that I dedicated a whole day to finding the perfect Pho restaurant in Minneapolis and recipe, only to decide the recipe was a little too much work. I normally don’t take the easy way out, but a dish that requires over a day to prepare is a little much for my healthy, simple and delicious mantra.

But there was a challenge and I had a recipe, so the cooking process began with the broth. As the onion and ginger were browning, and the meat simmering with water, I started to smell the Pho and my worries of it not turning out faded away. The aroma coming from the broth was so enticing I almost didn’t want to wait for the next day to start slurping.

The ample soup is spicy, savory, filling and fresh tasting all served up in an oversized bowl with chopsticks and an asian soup spoon. One of the reasons I love Pho, and Vietnamese cuisine, for that matter is because the majority of the seasoning is done at the table, to your own taste. Need more sriracha? A little more hoisin? It’s all there.

The components are layered in a deep bowl – the short ribs, the beef, the noodles and finally the broth. Then the toppings and flavorings are all up to you. My favorites are lime, bean sprouts, jalapeño slices, fresh basil and mint. Oh and lots of sriracha.

How did the pho turn out? It didn’t taste exactly the same as in the Restaurants, and I may be lacking some Vietnamese cuisine experience, but that just means I’ve got some experimenting to do in the kitchen, and that’s something I’m perfectly fine with.

Voting begins Monday!

45 Comments ( Reply )

  1. sippitysup
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    This certainly is a classic and you look like you did a classic job recreating it!

    Reply

  2. Katie@Cozydelicious
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

    I love pho! And I have always assumed it was so much work to make it. But you make it sound so doable. I have to try it! Yum! And, of course, you have my vote!

    Reply

  3. Carolyn
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

    I love that you truly went out of your comfort zone and tried something totally new! That earns a vote from me :)

    Reply

  4. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

    I’m not familiar with Pho, but I am very impressed with your day-long commitment to make it! I committed to 30 minutes of de-peeling garbanzo beans today and that about did me in. Way to go! I hope you advance to challenge 3!

    Reply

  5. Mellissa
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    Good job on the pho, I know it can be a lot of work.

    Reply

  6. Dana
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

    I’ve never had pho, but your pictures look like ti’s something I would want to try!! Congrats on making it to challenge 2!!

    Reply

  7. Frank
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    Way to go Em! Natalie puts rock sugar in hers… not a lot. It’s a nice touch. Oh and don’t forget the fish sauce! A stinky but flavorful necessity.

    But congrats!

    Reply

    • Emily
      Sep 27, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

      See that might be part of the problem, the recipe didn’t call for fish sauce! I need to find this rock sugar!

      Reply

  8. Erika @ Dr.TriRunner
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    YOU MADE MY FAVORITE!! Yours’ looks amazing, and I’m sure it tasted just as good too!

    I’m definitely still down for a trip to Quang, if you want to go! That’s for sure my favorite (in Minneapolis) for Pho.

    Reply

  9. sophia
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 12:52 am

    Classic dishes usually are a lot of work…which is why they’re so worth it! I’m glad you stuck to it, beause that looks so good. I love pho with lots of sriracha sauce!

    Reply

  10. lynn @ the actor's diet
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 1:31 am

    i feel like pho is hard to master. my cousin, who was the food editor at bon appetit for years, made it and i feel like it wasn’t nearly as flavorful as the stuff i had in vietnam. must be the lack of MSG?

    Reply

    • Emily
      Sep 27, 2010 @ 7:29 am

      That is exactly what I was thinking! Not sure where or if you can buy MSG?!?! It was missing that savory-ness.

      Reply

  11. Brooke Guthrie
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 9:39 am

    So many people made pho for their challenge, including me! Good luck on the challenge – I like how you presented your pictures :)

    Reply

  12. TheHealthyapron
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 9:44 am

    Looks like you did a great job! I’ve never had this dish before but it looks fabulous!

    Reply

  13. Crystal
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    I’ve never tried Pho before, but my siblings rave about it. I’d be too afraid to make it myself using the animal ingredients, but I’d totally make a vegetarian version!

    Reply

  14. Tina
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

    It looks amazing! I’m all about simple dishes too, so would have been hesitant to make this. Great job really going out of the comfort zone. :)

    Reply

  15. Curt
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

    Great looking pho… I did a smoked beef version here: http://livefireonline.com/2010/09/26/pfb-2-the-classics/

    You got my vote… I was surprised how many pho entries there are!

    Reply

  16. Holly
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

    my life never has enough pho in it. this looks absolutely freaking delicious!

    p.s. you around saturday morning for a breakfast date with me, angharad and madeline?!?! let me know!

    Reply

  17. Nutritious Foodie
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

    Looks Great! I love Pho :)

    You have got my vote! I made Paella, you can see my entry here http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/703

    Reply

  18. Therese @ artistta
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

    Hi, great post. We took on the same dish for challenge 2 and it looks like we live in the same area. Very cool. Voted for you. Good luck with moving forward!

    Reply

  19. Peggy
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

    Great call with the Pho! Looks great! You’ve got my vote for sure!

    Reply

  20. Amanda (The Culinary Passport)
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

    I love Pho. I hope one day I will get up the courage to make it myself!

    Reply

  21. Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

    MMM Pho looks so good. Delicious idea Emily! The noodles look great, I need to have Pho one of these days.

    Reply

  22. jen cheung
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

    this looks delicious :) Good luck with project food and you got my vote for this one! Feel free to drop by :) Good luck and best wishes for making to the top !! WOOHOO

    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

    Reply

  23. Lori
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 5:21 am

    As much as I love Asian food I have to admit that I have never had Pho. I do, however, have the noodles in my pantry to make it. This looks great and I’m headed off to vote!

    Reply

  24. Margaret Murphy Tripp
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 8:18 am

    You made me want Pho, NOW! Instant vote! Good luck!

    Reply

  25. Cathy
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 8:39 am

    Love it – I voted for you!

    Reply

  26. Jane Ko
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    Yum! I love pho but I’ve never tried to make it before.

    Voted for you and good luck with PFB :)

    I would like to invite you to participate in my giveaway
    http://atasteofkoko.blogspot.com/2010/08/mini-pistachio-tea-cakes-40.html

    Here is my entry for PFB http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/1039

    Reply

  27. Jacob's Kitchen
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

    Great post! I love pho, and yours looks especially appetizing. Nice job. I voted for you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864

    Reply

  28. kristin @ delishliving.com
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

    this looks wonderful! your photography is beautiful as well. you’ve got my vote for sure. thanks for stopping by my blog today – so great to “meet” other bloggers!!!

    Reply

  29. Kristi Rimkus
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

    You did a great job! Your pho looks absolutely fresh and delicious! Good luck!

    Reply

  30. Magic of Spice
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

    Great job…love it :) Will be looking for your challenge #3 post :)))

    Reply

  31. Carissa @ Fit To Indulge
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 12:20 am

    I love pho on a cold winter day. I’d be curious how much sodium your homemade version had compared to restaurants. It looks amazing. I never realized there were mint leaves in it. Always thought it was just the basil. Congrats on advancing!!

    Reply

  32. Susan
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    Okay, first things first, I’ve never had pho before (much to the shock of my Toronto foodie friends). So I guess it shouldn’t come a a surprise that I had no clue it was so time consuming to make (it’s SOUP!) or that it’s layered! Now I really want to try it!

    Oh, and voted ;)

    Reply

  33. Lisa
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

    Your pho looks great!! I’m sending you a vote.

    Reply

  34. @lickmyspoon
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

    I love your first image, it looks just like what I’d see in a restaurant. Pho is one of my favorite comfort foods, until I eat too much and get uncomfortably full. Good luck this week, you’ve got our vote!

    Lick My Spoon

    Reply

  35. Ed
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

    Great pictures and you have my vote!

    Reply

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