This past week is one of cravinnngsssssss. You know the kind, the ones that latch on and refuse to let go until you give in. I Don’t even bother trying to pass something else off in its place. It’s not going to work. Just give in. I’ll be better off for it in the long run. *pats her full belly*
My first craving this week was for Homestyle Poutine. That one is a waist buster, so handle with care. But This latest craving I love giving in too. It is definitely another one of my comfort foods, but one I consider pretty darn healthy.
I’ve just polished off my bowl of Pho Inspired Beef Noodle Soup. My lips are still warm from the heat of the Thai chili peppers and Sriracha sauce. I’m smiling because it was that good and it totally hit the craving spot head on. It feels like a big hug from the inside.
It was on a trip to Vancouver, some 15 odd years ago, that I was first introduced to the wonderful Vietnamese noodle soup known as Pho. Up to that point, never heard of the stuff, but boy do I love being introduced to new culinary wonders!
My brother took me to my first Pho restaurant during that trip. There were so many different kinds to order. I remember ordering the beef Pho, but really had no idea what would be presented to me. Our server brought out a plate full of fresh herbs, chilis, bean sprouts and limes. I don’t remember everything that was on that plate, but I do remember how curious it made me to get my bowl of pho!
When my steaming bowl of beef Pho was placed before me, I sampled a little of everything off the plate of fresh goodies, gave my bowl a little stir and took my first big slurpppppp.
I’ve been in love with Pho ever since that first slurp.
I’ve made the Pho soup base from scratch, which is wonderful, but time-consuming and requires more freezer space then I have available these days.
I suppose I could try just making smaller batches, but what I’ve discovered is that my Pho Inspired Beef Noodle Soup is just as good at hitting that cravings sweet spot. And it requires a lot less time. Which is great, cause cravings have this way of just popping up randomly when you least expect it! They want satisfaction NOW, not several hours from now. Cravings mean business!
I’ve used Pho soup paste, bought from a little Asian groceries shop, which is really good and super easy. Just scoop out the required amount of Pho paste, add it to your pot of water and simmer away.
So, what do I do when I have that Pho craving but I don’t have any soup base in the freezer or Pho paste in the fridge?
I improvise! I grab some ready-made beef broth from the store and add some extras to spice it up. My extras consist of some lemongrass stalks, star anise, cilantro roots, fresh ginger, fish sauce or soy sauce and a handful of the fresh toppings I use to garnish my Pho Inspired Beef Noodle Soup. Scallions, Thai chilis and fresh lime make an appearance too!
I’m starting to get hungry again…
After the soup base finishes simmering, it’s time to add the noodles. Rice noodles are the most commonly used in Pho, but I really like using wheat flour egg noodles. I love the chew you get from them, so satisfying, they are my go-to choice when I make Pho Inspired Beef Noodle Soup. Add them to your stock and leave to cook for about 3 minutes, taste a noodle after the first 3 minutes to check for doneness.
I would normally use fondue beef for this soup, but I also go with whats most economical at the time. Fondue beef is pretty pricey for the amount you get, so I’ll go with anything I think works with what I’m making and with my budget.
I used eye of round for this recipe. I put it in the freezer to firm up, making it easier to slice. When I’m ready to whip my soup up, I carve off the amount I want. Sometimes, I add the beef to my soup bowl after filling it and allow the hot soup stock to cook the beef in the bowl. Other times, I add it at the last second to my soup pot. This time I added my beef to the pot just before serving.
I have a favourite soup bowl for my Pho Inspired Beef Noodle Soup, it’s the perfect size. It’s large enough to hold lots of soup and mountains of noodles and toppings. There is something about slurping my noodles out of this bowl that makes it extra special.
I like to layer my ingredients in my bowl. I add some of the garnishes to the bottom of the bowl before adding my soup and noodles.
After adding the soup and noodles, I garnish the heck out of my soup. Loads of fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai chilis, scallions, snow peas and wedges of lime. I also like to use fresh mint and Thai basil when I have some in the fridge. The last thing I add is a squirt of Sriracha sauce and I’m good to go curl up in a corner and start slurping away at my Pho Inspired Beef Noodle Soup! I seriously can’t get enough of this stuff.
I love that you can mix it up, based on what you have on hand or what you love. Don’t like something, don’t use it. Adore something else, go crazy with it!
This is a total comfort food for me. It hits the spot, every single time.
- 900 ml beef broth
- 75 grams beef
- 2 squares Instant egg noodles
- 2 pieces lemongrass stalk, bruised
- 2-4 slices fresh ginger
- 1 star anise
- 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
- 1-2 thai chili, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 4 cilantro roots
- bean sprouts
- thai chili
- cilantro leaves
- snow peas
- sriracha sauce
- Heat beef broth in soup pot over medium high heat. Add lemongrass, star anise, ginger, soy sauce, thai chili, scallions and cilantro roots to pot.
- When soup comes to a boil, reduce heat, leave to simmer 20 minutes.
- Remove lemongrass stalk, cilantro roots, star anise and ginger from soup.
- After simmering, add noodles, cook 3 minutes.
- When noodles are done, add your beef just before serving.
- Layer some garnishes in bottom of bowl.
- Add noodles and soup to bowl.
- Garnishes with your choice of toppings.