Really I love all Vietnamese food, and I’ll devour a plate of spring rolls and fried rice and grilled meat quite happily if it is put in front of me.
But I love pho the best.
When I first started really trying to learn how to cook Asian dishes I bought myself a Vietnamese cookbook and I made chicken pho once.
While the soup I made turned out warm and delicious and filling, it was also incredibly time consuming and complicated to make. I found the whole process rather stressful as I was sure I was going to miss one of the dozens (at least it seemed like dozens) of ingredients or one of the hundreds (it seemed like hundreds) of important steps necessary to making the pho correctly.
I never tried making it again. I’ve been quite satisfied with going to restaurants where professional chefs make the pho for me, and I get to just sit and enjoy it.
And then I found a recipe for pho that you make in the Crockpot. Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a chore to make delicious Vietnamese soup at home by myself.
Yay! Seriously, yay!
The recipe I found called for using already made beef broth or stock, which cut at least half of the process out right off of the bat.
Once again, yay!
I do understand why stock is important and why it makes things taste so great BUT it is a pain to make and I don’t usually have the patience to do it. So I made the recipe with the pre-existing beef broth because I’m lazy and it was easy and I figured it would be almost just as nearly as good.
The only substitution I made to the recipe was using a tablespoon of ground ginger instead of a chunk of ginger. I don’t have a lot of experience using fresh ginger so I didn’t want to attempt it and possibly mess up the soup.
Of course, the difference between ground and fresh ginger is not the only thing that can mess up a recipe. On the instructions I had it used ‘t’ for amounts of spices. I’m not used to just a ‘t’ as a measurement. I tend to expect either a ‘tsp’ for teaspoon or a ‘T’ for tablespoon.
Needless to say, I got confused. I took a risk that the ‘t’ meant tablespoon since there was so much soup in the Crockpot.
It may have been the wrong choice. The first time I taste-tested the pho about an hour later it was INCREDIBLY salty. The salt and fish sauce were so very prevalent that I gagged a little bit. And then I got mad and yelled at myself a little bit because that’s the kind of person I am.
Eventually, when I was done beating myself up over the salty affair, I went ahead and added two more cups of water to the broth and a little bit of mirin cooking sake because that’s what seems to soften the saltiness of soy sauce when making fried rice. I figured it couldn’t make the soup any worse, at least, so was worth a shot.
Being a grumpy coward, I had someone else try the pho when it was finally done cooking. They gave the broth a good sip or two, claimed that it really wasn’t that bad – and in fact was actually quite tasty – and so I dumped in the noodles, let them soften for about fifteen minutes, and called the whole thing done.
And it really did turn out more than edible. I had a couple of bowls of beef pho, while my friend had pretty much all the rest. It was even good as reheated leftovers the next day, which was impressive considering rice noodles get weird in soup over time.
I am definitely going to have to try this recipe again in the future, and this time use teaspoons instead of tablespoons to see how it works out. Maybe I wasn’t wrong, and the person who created the recipe just LOVES their salt.
Though I can admit that isn’t very likely.
– Mia V.
SOURCE – Crockpot Vietnamese Pho Soup