pho

Pho is one of my favorite dishes of all time. It was one of my first meals when I moved to Hawaii nearly 15 years ago, and I’ve eaten it regularly ever since. To this day, if I’m feeling under the weather, I immediately reach for the nearest pho bowl that’s lying around (if only it was that easy).

I spent years working on a good recipe of my own, which I wrote in 2012 (confidently declaring it my “definitive recipe” – ha!). I then updated and improved upon the recipe for my cookbook. I love my cookbook recipe, and I would confidently put it toe-to-toe with your favorite bowl of soup. Unfortunately, it takes over 7 hours to make it from start to finish, since I make the broth from scratch. While spending a whole day making one soup is very satisfying (and slightly therapeutic), I wanted to put together a faster version with similar flavors, which I’m proud to debut today.

This dish first emerged as a Hanoi street food during the late 1800s, and was brought to the US in the 1970s by refugees after the fall of Saigon. The inclusion of beef in the dish is reflective of its French influence; prior to French colonialism, cows in Vietnam were mainly used for labor and not as a food source.

Be sure to scroll through to below the recipe text, because I also recorded a video of the recipe. Thanks to everyone for your feedback on my last video; I adjusted my side camera angle so that you can better see what’s in the pots, but since this recipe is basically just a lot of boiling, it’s not very exciting footage!

For this recipe I used the US Wellness Meats eye of round, oxtails, and marrow bones, all sourced from grass-fed cows. I pressure-cooked the oxtail and marrow bones to make broth; I then picked the meat off the oxtails and added it to the soup with some thinly-sliced eye of round. US Wellness Meats is currently offering 15% off all orders under 40lbs using the code “soda”, and the deal expires at midnight CST tonight (December 9th), so jump on it! Okay, on to the recipe.

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Kuy Teav is a Cambodian pork and seafood noodle soup, much like the Vietnamese Pho; in fact this dish is enjoyed in Vietnam, under the name Hu Tieu Nom Vang (“Phnom Penh Noodle Soup”). While I’m a huge fan of Pho (it’s in my cookbook), sometimes it’s a little too beefy for my tastes; Kuy Teav serves as an excellent break from the norm.

It’s believed that this dish originated among Chinese immigrants living in Cambodia, and later spread to the rest of the country. It’s also a popular breakfast meal. Like many Asian soups, there is no one way to prepare this dish. Feel free to experiment with all sorts of add-ins, including meat balls or any leftover meat you may have.

This dish sits firmly in the Perfect Health Diet spectrum of Paleo since it uses rice noodles, but feel free to use sweet potato noodles (or even zucchini noodles) instead. One of these days, I’ll help convince the Paleo world that rice is indeed Paleo, but until then, I’ll continue to use my favorite little hashtag: #teamwhiterice.

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NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Pho, often considered the national dish of Vietnam, is a rice noodle dish that uses a beef bone broth. It’s hard to describe the basic, yet complex taste that comes from this unique mix of broth, beef, spices and herbs – I recommend just going to your local pho joint and trying it for yourself. You’ll be hooked. I had my first bowl right after moving to Hawaii in 2001, and ever since then I’ve been slightly obsessed with figuring it how to make it at home. After several dozen ho-hum attempts I finally settled on this, which I consider my definitive, recipe.

This dish emerged from Hanoi in the early 20th century, and was brought to the US in the 1970s by refugees after the fall of Saigon. The inclusion of beef in the dish is reflective of its French influence; prior to French colonialism, cows in Vietnam were mainly used for labor and not as a food source. I’ve read a few different histories of the word “phở” itself, and my favorite is that it came from the French word “feu” (fire), and that pho itself is Vietnam’s take on the popular French beef stew, pot au feu.

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As I was putting together a quick lunch the other day I made this simple soup, and didn’t take any pictures of the process because I assumed it wasn’t going to be a very noteworthy meal. Fortunately for me it was delicious, but unfortunately for you I don’t have any other pictures of the recipe other than the picture you see above. Regardless, I think I can still walk you through this dish without any visual help.

I lived in Hawaii for seven years, and I was lucky to learn a lot about Asian soups while I was there, and I feel that this dish accurately reflects the all-inclusive nature of Hawaiian (“local”) cuisine. This soup is a combination of many traditional dishes: I made a broth similar to Japanese shoyu ramen, but incorporated assorted Japanese fishcake from a dish called oden, and used wakame seaweed which is most commonly found in miso soup. I then used the same rice noodles used in Vietnamese pho and added fish balls, which you would find in many soups in Singapore and Malaysia.

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