Sunday, January 9, 2011

Faux pho

Advance notice to all pedants: I know perfectly well that "faux" and "pho" are not homophones, but it looks cool anyway.

I had originally planned to make garlic knots and bean salad, but a cold that had settled into my chest decided what it really wanted to do today was clog my sinuses. Pho was on my Resolution List, and if four years in Massachusetts taught me anything, it's that pho is a great cold tonic*.

The reasons that this pho was so highly ersatz as to be described as "faux" are enumerated below:
substitution of capellini for rice vermicelli
lack of Thai basil
lack of mung bean sprouts
lack of meat or seafood (and corresponding lack of fish sauce)
lack of Sriracha
lack of lemongrass

I used soy sauce, a bit of brown sugar, a couple star anise pods, bay leaves, some cloves, coriander, ginger, garlic, dried Chinese mushrooms of unknown type, and sliced yellow onion in the broth, and added edamame, chard, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms** in the last few minutes of the pasta cooking. Topped with crunchy raw green pepper, cilantro, and some sinus-opening jalapeno slices, and with a healthy squirt of fresh lime juice, this was heaven. Seriously. I normally embrace self-deprecation with the fervor of a devout Catholic kissing the pope's ring, but in this case, I'll admit achievement.

The best part is that after the broth sits overnight, the soup is going to taste even better. Awesome. Garlic rolls, I have no problem waiting for you.

*You'd think that, because I spent those four years at a relatively good institution of higher learning, I'd have picked up a few things. Nope. Pho = good, that's about it.
**As far as vegetables, pho can contain basically everything but the kitchen sink, which makes sense, because the kitchen sink is not a vegetable. In any case, what went into this was dictated largely by what I had in my fridge anyway.


  1. I love pho and, broth be willing, have it for breakfast. Broth can be refrigerated but the other "stuff" has to be fresh. I hope you beat the cold and that the new year brings you an increased measure of health and happiness. Have a great day. Blessings...Maryv

  2. Thank you, Mary! It's a privilege to get advice from someone with a blog as wonderful as yours.