Monday, January 14, 2013

German pho

Pho is Vietnamese soup. I used German vegan bouillon cubes for the broth. Hence the title.

Fresh in the plate

I chopped, diced, sauteed, and simmered my way through the kitchen for Sunday lunch and have enough for leftovers today.

Field mushrooms
Ingredients list:
  • noodles - rice vermicelli (or thin noodles you like)
  • meat - we had leftover turkey stuffing (frozen, then thawed and heated); my vegan option was Veggie Roast, diced and lightly fried in Asian Taste Oil
  • greens - pea shoots, cilantro, Thai basil, chopped
  • mushrooms - chopped oyster and field mushrooms, lightly fried with minced garlic and a splash of soy sauce
  • broth - meat or vegetable broth plus a slice of ginger, a tbsp. minced garlic, any mix of Asian sauces (Hoisin, sweet soy sauce, brown braising sauce, mushroom sauce), and 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • sesame oil - 1 tsp-1 tbsp when you finish simmering the broth
  • Have hot pepper seasoning and Asian sauces at the table: hoisin, black bean, sweet chili, sweet soy, etc.  Let guests help themselves to taste.
  • Optional: up to 1 tsp Szechuan pepper oil per serving (numbs the tongue. For some reason my husband and sons like this. I skipped it.)

Purple-stemmed Thai basil

  • Prepare the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside. (When time to serve, heat them up by immersing them in boiling water for 20 seconds and draining.)
  • Begin to simmer the broth down from a boil to about 2/3 worth of stock. Put in sesame oil at the very end, along with chopped cilantro.
  • Meanwhile, prep your meat, herbs, and vegetables and store them nearby in separate bowls.
  • Either assemble the soup in individual bowls or bring everything to the table so guests can assemble their own.
  • Order of assembly is usually noodles in the bottom of the soup bowl, then meat, then vegetables and herbs, then broth on top. Taste, and season to personal preference with sauces on the table.
  • Give everyone a soup spoon and a set of chopsticks (or fork) to make eating easier.
Almost done: good to the last spoonful

Rating: 4.5
Taste: nice combination of salty and savory
Calories: 4-800, depending on how much oil you use in preparation and how much food you assemble
Time to prepare: 30 min. or so - again, it depends on how quickly you assemble, chop, and fry separate ingredients. The actual assembly takes 2-3 minutes.
Tea: Some awful Tetley Green Tea brewed 1/2 hour before the meal. Bitter, like a bad Chinese restaurant serves ... and just the thing.
Beauty: Pretty colors of browns, beiges and greens
Improvements: Mix up the sauces to try a variety of blends. This one tasted just right. Leftovers the next day were even tastier as the flavors had blended beautifully. But that's par for most stock-based soups.

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