Steamy Kitchen Recipes | RSS Feed http://steamykitchen.com Steamy Kitchen Food Blog: fast recipes, simple recipes, with fresh ingredients to create delicious meals. Fri, 01 May 2015 15:39:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 Korean Beef Jerky http://steamykitchen.com/38897-korean-beef-jerky-recipe.html http://steamykitchen.com/38897-korean-beef-jerky-recipe.html#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 13:00:42 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=38897 Our friends, Darrin and Sylvia Isaacs, introduced us to their love of homemade beef jerky several months ago. If you are an avid fisherman, you might have heard of Darrin before. He co-hosted and co-produced several ESPN fishing shows – Big Game Fishing the World, BXRL-Billfishing Xtreme Release League, Inside Big Game Fishing Hawaii and Big Game Bites – with his ...

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Korean Beef Jerky Recipe

Our friends, Darrin and Sylvia Isaacs, introduced us to their love of homemade beef jerky several months ago. If you are an avid fisherman, you might have heard of Darrin before. He co-hosted and co-produced several ESPN fishing shows – Big Game Fishing the World, BXRL-Billfishing Xtreme Release League, Inside Big Game Fishing Hawaii and Big Game Bites – with his father, Norm Isaacs.

The Isaacs family lives nearby – and in a twist of fate (or is it kismet?) – Scott and Darrin met at an aquaponics shop. Darrin was there, asking questions to the stop owner, looking for some equipment to set up his system. Scott overheard the conversation. Once outside the shop, as both were leaving, Scott offered to give Darrin some of our equipment that we weren’t using.

Here’s where it gets strange:

-Darrin and Sylvia met on the big island in Hawaii. So did Scott and I. In fact, they were living on the big island the same time we were there, too.
-Our sets of boys are the exact same ages, same number of months apart, same grades. They are a mixed race of Caucasian and Chinese.
-Sylvia used to work in the wine industry. So did I. Sylvia and I are both Chinese.
-They live an hour away currently, all the way on the very opposite side of the county — but it turns out Darrin and Sylvia just bought some property and it’s a stone’s throw from our home.

If I list out any more similarities, it might even give me chills. When we get together, it’s like a gaggle of dark-brown haired boys – You can’t tell them apart from each other unless you really look closely.

We’ve become good friends with the Isaacs, how could we not feel like “instant old friends” given all the crazy similarities? They’ve just launched a new website and podcast, Boats and Billfish, for sport fishing.

Anyways, we also now love making our own beef jerky, just like the Isaacs. We’ve purchased a dehydrator (though to be honest, this is the 3rd dehydrator I have ever owned, but the FIRST dehydrator to be used more than twice and not bought from a TV infomercial.)

Rather than go the traditional American style of beef jerky, I opted to try a Korean flavor, inspired by another good family friend, Diana of Eating Richly. I modified my go-to recipe for Korean Bulgogi BBQ, omitting the sesame seeds, green onion, and grated fresh pear. The grated pear is meant as a tenderizer (the enzymes break down the meat), but since we’re making jerky, there’s not tenderizing needed! Instead of the normal grated onion and fresh garlic, we used onion powder and garlic powder. Fresh grated onion would add too much moisture to the marinade.

Previously, we had the butchers slice the beef for us with their fancy machinery (we love the Publix butchers, always so kind and helpful.) But recently received a Kalorik Meat and Deli Slicer for review that’s designed specifically for the home market. The unit is affordable at $79.00, and small enough to tuck away in the pantry. We’re also giving away a unit (see end of this recipe for details.)

 

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe

How to make Korean Beef Jerky

Start with the right meat. After several tests, we’ve found London Broil to be the best cut. Actually, “London Broil” is a term used to describe a method of cooking, not necessarily a butcher’s cut. However, many American supermarkets label Top Round Steak that’s cut even and flat as London Broil. Some butchers also label Flank Steak as London Broil as well, but I’m not as fond of Flank Steak for beef jerky as it’s often too thin and flat. Your beef jerky will turn out to be 1/2-inch wide strips. If you use Flank Steak for beef jerky, make sure you slice ACROSS the grain.

TopRoundSteakThe London Broil a.k.a. Top Round Steak that I like to use is about 1.75-inches thick, which makes nice-sized beef jerky slices. Also, take a look at the meat. It is even in thickness and lean – very little visible fat is what you want, as dehydrated fat doesn’t taste very good. Photo source

I’ve turned the beef on its side so that you can see how nice and even this steak is.

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - use london broil

We set up the Kalorik meat slicer on our counter, it was already assembled out of the box. The unit is surprisingly light and has suction feet on the bottom to prevent sliding or shifting. Though you really have to push down to make the suction cup stick to my counter top, which is quartz, matte and not-so-easily suction-cuppable (nice word!)

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - different thickness

Like the Isaacs, we like our beef jerky sliced very thin. While thick hunks of beef jerky certainly gives your jaws a workout, the thinner beef jerky wins in taste, texture, ease of enjoying and marinating time.

 

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - Kalorik meat slicer

It’s best to test out which thickness you like best. Our meat slicer has a knob numbered 0 to 10. The top photo is beef sliced at 0.5, obviously too thin. The bottom meat was sliced at 1.5. We chose 1.25.

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - different thickness

Oh, just a quick note – if you look above at the photo of sliced meat, you’ll see a very thin stripe of fat on the bottom – I would normally trim off ALL visible fat from the steak before slicing. As I mentioned, dried fat is not appealing to eat.

The Kalorik meat slicer has nice safety features – your fingers stay safely out of the way. The unit is made of mostly plastic on the base, the area that you place the meat and the handle.

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - slice thinly

Slice at an even pace and take your time. This is the back of the unit, where the sliced meat falls.

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - slice thinly

After slicing, prepare the marinade (garlic, soy, sesame oil, sugar, grated onion) in a freezer or storage bag. Add in your meat, seal. Massage and shake the bag to get the marinade incorporated throughout. I then unseal a tiny opening in the bag, squeeze as much air out from the bag as possible and quickly reseal. This helps the marinade stay put on the meat, instead of settling back down on the bottom of the bag.

The marinade recipe for Korean Beef Jerky is below, at the end of this post.

Because the meat is sliced so thinly, I marinate only 30 minutes. I also like lightly seasoned beef jerky, not beef jerky that’s so salty you need a gallon of water to rehydrate yourself! However, if you are using thicker slices of meat, marinate for an hour or up to overnight.

We bought the Nesco SnackMaster Pro Dehydrator $69.99 and have no complaints. It works very well, it does its job. I wish the unit would have a timer built in. Tip: don’t try to wash the drying racks by hand – you’ll go crazy just trying to scrub off all the dried bits. Instead, throw the racks into the dishwasher. The hot water will help soften the bits and clean them off. Also, during the summer, place the dehydrator outside on the patio so you don’t heat up your house with all that hot air!

Lay the beef slices in a single layer, spread them out so that there are no curls or folds in the meat.

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - lay on dehydrator

Right about now, the dogs GO NUTS. Steak? Steak? Steak? I smell STEAK!

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - dehydrator

After 4 hours-ish, the beef jerky is ready.

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe - done drying

Final thoughts on the Kalorik Meat Slicer:

PROS: It’s affordable, less than $100. The unit is lightweight, already-assembled out of the box. Good safety features – turn the knob dial for blade to “P” to make the blade flush with the unit for storage. The handle design keeps your fingers out of the way of the blade. The blade is simple to clean, the unit wipes down easily. It also comes with a silicone blade safety cover to keep the blade edge partly covered.

CONS: Because it is so lightweight, the suction cups are necessarily to keep the unit from shifting. The suction cups didn’t work very well on my counter, and I got a little nervous until I got the hang of it. The key is to not PUSH the meat forward towards the blade (which would move the meat slicer), but rather, gently glide the meat forward while applying pressure to the left to keep the meat sandwiched against the blade area. Sorry, it’s so difficult to explain in words! I wish the suction feet would be larger, more sturdier. Removing the very sharp blade from the unit is almost too easy – just twist this little knob and the blade is loose. It is difficult to tell whether the blade is securely set in from the little black knob. Take care when removing and washing the blade – I use my trusty Pitt Mitts to handle the blade.

If you are starting out on this beef jerky adventure, have your butcher slice the meat for you. Go during non-peak hours, and kindly ask for a very thin slice for beef jerky. Most butchers will know how to slice the steak correctly, though in my opinion, they’ll slice it too thick. Once you get the slices exactly how you want them, ask the butcher, “What setting did you use?” and just remember that magic number. Next time, just say, “Slice for beef jerky, at setting number ___.”

Make a couple of batches before investing in a slicer. It’s a big appliance to store in your house. However, if you’re really into beef jerky like we are, it’s really worth it to slice the meat exactly how we like it, without bothering or waiting for the butcher. It’s a nice-to-have appliance for the serious beef jerky aficionado!

That being said, we make beef jerky a lot. It’s a healthy snack, nutritious, gives me energy, and best of all, it’s real food. The kids love it and will pack beef jerky in their backpack for a snack instead of crackers or a granola bar.

We’re giving a Kalorik Meat Slicer away! Enter the giveaway here.

Retail beef jerky “Jack Links Teriyaki Flavored” 

Jerky_Teriyaki

-Ingredients: Beef, water, sugar, dried soy suace (soybeans, salt, wheat), maltodextrin, fructos, monosodium glutamate, flavorings, hydrolyzed corn protein, sodium erythorbate, paprika extract, sodium nitrate.
-Not sure what type of beef
-Contains MSG and other chemicals I can’t pronounce
-$5.99 for 3.5 ounces


Homemade Beef Jerky

korean-beef-jerky-recipe-3498
-Ingredients: Top Round steak, Soy sauce (soybeans, salt, wheat), sesame oil, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar
-Substitute soy sauce with Coconut Aminos (we love this sauce!) for a wheat and soy free alternative
-London Broil (Top Round Steak) – you can choose to use organic, free range beef
-$5.29 per pound for the meat (on sale), each pound makes approx 6-8 ounces beef jerky

Korean Beef Jerky Recipe

More recipes to explore

Steak Recipe: Turning Cheap “Choice” Steak into Gucci “Prime” Steak (Steamy Kitchen)

Flank Steak with Bloody Mary Tomato Salad Recipe (Steamy Kitchen)

1-Step, Fail Proof Prime Rib Roast Recipe on the Rotisserie (Steamy Kitchen)

Korean Kalbi Baby Back Ribs (Steamy Kitchen)

Black Pepper Jerky (Food & Wine)

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Korean Beef Jerky Recipe

Servings: Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours in dehydrator
Korean Beef Jerky Recipe

I've had best results using London Broil (Top Round Steak) meat. In my Nesco dehydrator, I can fit 4 pounds of sliced meat on the trays. Your unit may be smaller or larger. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of meat, so if you have a similar sized dehydrator, make 2 batches of the marinade side by side in separate bags. To clarify, don't try to stuff 4 pounds of sliced meat into 1 bag of marinade. It won't fit.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
2 pounds London broil, very thinly sliced

Directions:

1. In a resealable freezer bag, combine all ingredients except for the meat.

2. Add the sliced meat, seal bag and massage gently to incorporate the marinade throughout the meat. Unseal just a small section, push as much air out of the bag as possible, and reseal. Let marinate for 30 minutes (on counter-top at room temperature is fine) or refrigerate up to overnight.

3. Lay out the meat in a single layer (as neat as possible) on the dehydrator racks. Set dehydrator according to manufacturer's instructions.

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Crock Pot Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) http://steamykitchen.com/3136-crock-pot-pho.html http://steamykitchen.com/3136-crock-pot-pho.html#comments Mon, 04 May 2009 12:00:16 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/?p=3136     It’s no secret that good Pho broth requires a gazillion hours of simmering time. Time that I just don’t have. Tony, a boyfriend from a lifetime ago, told me his Dad used to simmer giant vats of pho broth overnight for his little pho restaurant in Houston. So, one day, I thought it would be really genius to ...

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Crockpot Pho Recipe   

It’s no secret that good Pho broth requires a gazillion hours of simmering time. Time that I just don’t have. Tony, a boyfriend from a lifetime ago, told me his Dad used to simmer giant vats of pho broth overnight for his little pho restaurant in Houston. So, one day, I thought it would be really genius to do the same. Dump a bunch of beefy, tendony, knuckley, marrowey bones into the largest stockpot that I have and let it simmer away while I slept.

Crockpot Pho Recipe

It didn’t quite work out as I had intended:

11:30pm Initial hard boil of the bones to get all the yuck, guck and scum off. Char ginger and onion.

11:38pm Dumped out water, added clean water, the clean bones, spices, ginger and onion. Let the dance begin.

11:45pm Nighty-night

12:35am Is the flame low enough? Maybe I need to check to see.

1:23am Hmmm…I smell something funny. Go check.

2:41am What if it boiled over? Go check.

3:24am What if there’s a gas bubble in the pipe and the the stove spontaneously bursts out in big flames? Maybe I should sleep on the couch closer to the kitchen.

4:45am Gosh I’m hungry. Sneak a big spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Ice Cream.

4:51am Did I forget to put ice cream back in freezer? What if the gas bubble really does happen and stove spontaneously bursts out in flames? Then sleeping on couch is a dumbass idea. Crawl back to bed.

6:00am Kids wake up. Jumps up and down on my belly trying to wake me up.

6:15am PHO-KING TIRED

Enter the Slow Cooker

A few weeks later, I was contacted by the peeps at Crock-Pot® The Original Slow Cooker <- yes, they are insanely paranoid about me using their correct trademarked name, so much that they’ve given me very specific instructions 4 separate times on how to properly spell/mark their product names.) They sent me their new eLume Crock-Pot® Programmable Slow Cooker with Touch Screen Technology to test.

crock-pot-elume <- shiny, pretty and fancy. Oh crap, I forgot the ™ after eLume™.

It’s the perfect size (6.5 quarts) for a big mean mama pot of PHO!!!

Oh yeah, baby! It solves my problem of paranoia when leaving stove on all night.

What I love about the eLume™ Crock Pot® is© its™ lighted™© touchscreen®™©. Just a light tap is all that you need and it’s totally programmable from 30 minutes to 20 hours of cooking time. You can also set it to start cooking at a certain time, but when making my Crock Pot Pho Recipe, I don’t recommend a delayed start time since we are working with raw meat bones.

Crockpot Pho Recipe

How to make Crock Pot Pho

Whether you use the Crock Pot Pho method or the traditional stove top method, there are a couple of steps that you’ll need to do before throwing it all in the Crock Pot or slow cooker. Namely, toasting the spices, grilling the onion/ginger and pre-boiling the bones. These aren’t absolutely necessary steps…you’ll still make great pho…BUT these extra steps will make the difference between good pho and pho-bulous pho.

Toasting the Vietnamese Pho Spices

Toasting spices for Crock pot Vietnamese pho

You can buy Pho spices at most Asian supermarkets – you can buy the spices separately (coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel and cardamom pod) or purchase them already mixed up in a package (which also includes a small mesh bag). The quality of these pre-mixed spices are just okay – but sometimes it’s just convenient to pick up a bag, not to mention much cheaper if you don’t already have many of these spices. A Pho spice pack will typically sell for $1-$3.

This day that I made the Crock Pot Pho, I used individual spices. I didn’t have cardamom pod. So yes, if you are missing one of couple of the spices, it’s okay. To get the best flavor from these spices, you’ll toast them in a dry skillet.

Grilling Ginger and Onion

This is a totally optional step, but it really gives the ginger and the onion a deep, sweet, mellow flavor. When I’m making Pho the traditional stovetop way, I’ll char them in the broiler. But with the crock pot method, I didn’t want to use the oven at all. After toasting the spices (above) in a frying pan, I add a bit of oil and grilled the onion half and thick ginger slices.

crockpot-pho-beef_090418__004_onion-web

Pre-Boiling the Bones

Knuckles, leg bones with lots of marrow are the best for making soup. The marrow will also make the soup rich and thick. The bones are pre-boiled for a few minutes on high heat to clean the bones and get rid of the nasty scum.

You’ll bring a big stockpot of water to a boil on high heat. Add the bones and boil hard for 10 minutes. You’ll see brownish scum rise to the surface. If you hadn’t taken the time to pre-boil the bones, all that scummy stuff ends up in your soup.

crockpot-pho-beef_090418__003_scum-web <– nasty pho-reaky scum

Drain, discard the scummy water and briefly rinse the bones.

Now you’ll add the spices, ginger, onion and bones to the slow cooker.

crockpot-pho-beef_090418__008_pot-web

Fill with fresh, clean, cool water about 1-1/2 inches below the surface. Set your slow cooker on low for 8 hours. I haven’t tried this method on high, but I’m sure it would be just fine.

So let this cook during all day while you’re at work or at night while you sleep and you’ll be rewarded with the cleanest, best tasting pho soups ever. Because the slow cooker doesn’t let the stock boil hard, it’s safe, easy and convenient.

Here’s what the stock looks like when it’s been cooking for 8 hours on low. Notice that the level of the liquid is still pretty high. The low, even setting doesn’t evaporate the precious liquid as much as a stove top can. The stock is strained before serving.

Crock Pot Pho Soup

Other Pho Ingredients

I used different ingredients than my previous version of traditional Vietnamese Pho and I wanted to highlight them. Instead of using dried rice noodles, I used fresh rice noodles found at Asian markets, in the refrigerated section because all these need is a quick dip in boiling water. Very fast!

Crock Pot Pho Noodles

I also bought a package of Vietnamese Beef Balls (called Bo Vien Dan). There are all sorts of balls – beef, pork, chicken, fish, crab, and my favorite – beef tendon. They come frozen in a package and they are pre-cooked, so all you need to do is throw the frozen balls into the same pot of boiling water as you cooked your noodles in. Just boil for a couple of minutes until the beef balls are heated through. I like cutting these beef balls in half, so make them easier to eat. It’s not so pretty trying to stick an entire beef ball in your mouth. Unless…you’re like really into that.

Crock Pot Pho Beef Balls

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Crockpot Pho Recipe

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Crock Pot Pho Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:
crockpot vietnamese pho

This is a recipe for a 6.5 quart (or larger) Crock Pot. Any smaller really isn't that great - you won't get enough stock out of it...because the beef bones are really chunky and big. The thinly sliced meat for the bowls may be easier to slice if you freeze the chunk of meat for 15 minutes prior to slicing. You really want them as thin a possible. You can also do what I do - palm your butcher a $5 bill and he'll slice the meat for you on his fancy slicing machine

Ingredients:

For the Pho Stock:
4 pounds beef bones
1/2 onion
4 inch section of ginger, sliced
1 package Vietnamese Pho Spices (or as many of these spices as you have: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons whole coriander, 1 teaspooon fennel, 3 whole star anise, 3 whole cloves, 1 cardamom pod)
9 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon sugarFor the Pho Bowls
16 ounces fresh or dried rice noodles
1/2 pound flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round steak, sliced as thinly as possible.
11 ounces Vietnamese beef balls, cut into halfFor the table
1-2 limes, cut into wedges
fresh herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, mint
2-3 chili peppers, sliced
2 big handfuls of bean sprouts
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha hot chili sauce

Directions:

1. Bring a large stockpot with water to boil over high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the beef bones and boil vigourously for 10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, heat a frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the Vietnamese Pho Spices and toast until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Dump the spices to the empty Crock Pot or slow cooker immediately. Return frying pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger slices and the onion half. Cook until the ginger is browned on both sides and the onion half is nicely browned and softened. Add the ginger and the onion to the Crock Pot or slow cooker.

3. When the bones have been pre-boiled, drain, discard water and rinse bones briefly to clean them. Add the bones to the Crock Pot or slow cooker. Fill the Crock Pot with fresh, clean, cool water to just 1-1/2 inches below surface, add the fish sauce and sugar. Cover and set the Crock Pot or slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. Taste and season with additional fish sauce if needed.

4. When you are just about ready to eat, you'll prep the rest of the ingredients for the Pho bowls. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the beef balls and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove the balls, keeping the water boiling and now cook the noodles according to package instructions. If you are using fresh noodles, all they need is a couple of minutes. Drain immediately.

5. Strain the stock with a fine meshed sieve. Discard the solids.

6. Line up 4 large bowls on counter. Distribute the noodles, beef balls and thin steak slices evenly amongst the bowls. Ladle the hot Pho stock into each bowl. The hot stock should cook the thin steak slices. Serve with lime wedges, fresh herbs, chili peppers, Hoisin sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce at the table.

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vietnamese-pho-beef-noodle-soup-recipe Vietnamese Pho Recipe (cooked the traditional, long, slow, stovetop method)

vietnamese-chicken-pho-recipe Vietnamese Chicken Pho Recipe (Pho Ga)

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Vietnamese Pho: Beef Noodle Soup http://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html http://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html#comments Sat, 09 Feb 2008 20:15:33 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/2008/02/09/vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho/ What the Pho?! I’ve been working hard perfecting the techniques and recipe for Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, or Pho, just for you. It’s taken years of kitchen experiments, eating out and scouring for good recipes. Of all the cookbooks that I own, the best recipe that I’ve found for Pho is from: Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, which is ...

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Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup Recipe

What the Pho?!

I’ve been working hard perfecting the techniques and recipe for Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, or Pho, just for you. It’s taken years of kitchen experiments, eating out and scouring for good recipes. Of all the cookbooks that I own, the best recipe that I’ve found for Pho is from:

Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese KitchenInto the Vietnamese Kitchen Cookbook, which is one of the most comprehensive books on the cuisine of Vietnam. The book also won nominations for a James Beard Foundation award and two International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Definitely a must-have book for Asian food lovers.

So, let’s get right to the Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe!

The dish is pronounced “fuh” and not “foo” or “foe” or “puh”

Yeah, Pho is cheap eat out…but to be able to make a home made version? Pretty Pho-king amazing, if you ask me.

Pho Spices

It’s best if you can get each spice separately, but I do find that the spice packets are pretty convenient. They cost less than $2.00 and even come with a mesh bag to put all the spices in. Spices include cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander pods, star anise and cardamom. Whatever you do, don’t use the Pho spice paste that comes in a jar or can. Nasty stuff, that’s Pho-sho’.

Pho Spices use for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Best Bones for Pho

Knuckle bones are the best to make the stock. The knobby knuckle bones, about the size of your fist, is full of gelatin – which gives body and richness to your broth. The knuckle bones make the biggest difference in your broth! You can find knuckle bones at Asian markets, but at regular supermarkets – you might have to ask your butcher.

Leg bones are also great for the pho broth. Take a look at the photo below. The bone that’s at 12-o’clock position is a leg bone that contains marrow. The marrow is good, but it’s extremely fatty. If I have a lot of marrow bones, I’ll scoop out the marrow with a small spoon or knife and discard after the par-boiling (see below). Having too much marrow will give you a greasy film on your pho broth.

But let’s say that you can’t find leg/knuckle bones. Go ahead and use whatever beef bones your supermarket has and just supplement with some oxtail bones or a pound of beef meat (rump, chuck, brisket, etc.) for extra flavor. Alternatively, you can buy knuckle bones online – Blue Valley Meats offers 100% grass fed knuckle bones for $9 per bag.

 

beef knuckle bones for pho

Blue Valley Meats knuckle bones

Bones are parboiled first for a good 10 minutes in rapidly boiling water – this gets rid of the yucky impurities like blood particles and extra fat. You’ll see gray foam float up to the surface as you boil. After 10 minutes, dump out all of the water, rinse out your pot, rinse the bones, and refill with clean, cool water. I know it’s an extra step, but this will give you the pure, clean-tasting broth.

If you have a lot of marrow bones, use a spoon or knife to scoop out and discard some of the marrow. Do this after the parboil, while the bones are still hot. The marrow can only be scooped out when the bones are hot, otherwise, it solidifies.

 

Charring Onions and Ginger

Charring or roasting the onions and ginger gives you a wonderfully mellow and naturally sweet flavor. I used to char over an open flame on my stovetop with a pair of tongs, but that got pretty tiring. Plus, metal tongs + long time over flame = very hothothot hands. So now, I just raise my oven rack to the highest position and turn my broiler on. See how golden the ginger gets?

Char onions and ginger for Vietnamese Pho Recipevietnamese-pho-recipe-ginger

Damn Scumbag!

So here is my broth boilin’ away with the mesh bag of spices, charred ginger, charred onions and beef bones. You can see floating bits of fat and the damn scumbag.

Fat & marrow bits = good eats. Try to keep that in the broth!

But gotta get rid of the scum! I use a very, very fine mesh strainer designed just for scum. heh. A scumbag strainer. Can you imagine if I had a line of cookware and tools – “Steamy Kitchen Scumbag Strainer.” Straining the scum keeps your broth pure and clean. The lower the simmer, the less scum you have.

A note on broth simmering time – I simmer the broth for 3 hours. According to both Andrea Nguyen and Corinne Trang (author of Authentic Vietnamese Cooking and former editor and director of Saveur’s test kitchen) – all of the flavors in the bone have been extracted after 3 hours.

Skim the Scum when making broth for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Thin Sliced Meat

You can use a thinly sliced flank steak, london broil, sirloin, eye of round or tri-tip. Instead of beef slices, you could use beef balls (Bo Vien) found in the freezer section of your Asian market. The secret to cutting meat is to cut across the grain. You want your beef slices as thin as possible, and I always throw the whole chunk of meat in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice thinly.

How to slice steak for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Pho Noodles


Rice noodles for vietnamese pho recipe


Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup typically uses rice noodles. You can buy them dried or fresh. I love the slippery softness of fresh noodles (look in the refrigerator or freezer section.) Most restaurants will use dried, flat rice noodles. Look for ones that are medium thickness and flat like these.

Pho Condiments


Condiments for Vietnamese Pho Recipe


Pho-tastic condiments! On the tables of every Pho restaurant, you’ll see these two condiments, Cock Sauce (Sriracha hot chili sauce) and Hoisin Sauce. You can squirt and slather as much of these two condiments as you want…but I’m a purist.If I’m going to spend a couple of hours carefully crafting a rich, flavor-packed, clean soup – I better taste every damn drop. Condiment sauces just get in the way. Sometimes, I’ll squirt a bit of each sauce in a little dish and dip my meat in the sauce as I take a bite. You ask….why do we call it Cock sauce? See that rooster on the bottle?

Pho Vegetables and Herbs

Fresh mint, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, limees, sliced chili peppers are just some of my favorite accompaniments. Set a plate at the table and your guests can pick and choose what they like. Here’s a great Pho-tograph of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Fresh Herbs for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

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Vietnamese Pho: Beef Noodle Soup Recipe

Servings: 8 Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours
vietnamese-pho-recipe-2

Adapted from my favorite Vietnamese cookbook
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen

Sometimes, I omit the 1 pound of beef meat in the broth (you'll see I've made it optional) - as I've found that as long as I have good bones, the broth will have enough flavor to not need the extra beef meat.

Ingredients:

THE BROTH



2 onions, halved
4" nub of ginger, halved lengthwise
5-6 pounds of good beef bones, preferably leg and knuckle
1 pound of beef meat - chuck, brisket, rump, cut into large slices [optional]6 quarts of water
1 package of Pho Spices [1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbl coriander seeds, 1 tbl fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves - in mesh bag]1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (halve if using regular table salt)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 inch chunk of yellow rock sugar (about 1 oz) - or 1oz of regular sugar

2 pounds rice noodles (dried or fresh)
Cooked beef from the broth (shredded or thinly sliced)
1/2 pound flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thinly as possible.
big handful of each: mint, cilantro, basil
2 limes, cut into wedges
2-3 chili peppers, sliced
2 big handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha hot sauce

Directions:

Char: Turn your broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.

Parboil the bones: Fill large pot (12-qt capacity) with cool water. Boil water, and then add the bones, keeping the heat on high. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the bones and rinse out the pot. If you have a lot of marrow in the bones, use a small spoon to scoop out and discard some of the marrow. Refill pot with bones and 6 qts of cool water. Bring to boil over high heat and lower to simmer. Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.

Boil broth: Add ginger, onion, spice packet, beef, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside (you'll be eating this meat later in the bowls) Continue simmering for another 1 1/2 hours. Strain broth and return the broth to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning - this is a crucial step. If the broth's flavor doesn't quite shine yet, add 2 teaspoons more of fish sauce, large pinch of salt and a small nugget of rock sugar (or 1 teaspoon of regular sugar). Keep doing this until the broth tastes perfect.

Prepare noodles & meat: Slice your flank/london broil/sirloin as thin as possible - try freezing for 15 minutes prior to slicing to make it easier. Remember the cooked beef meat that was part of your broth? Cut or shred the meat and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Your guests will "assemble" their own bowls. Follow the directions on your package of noodles - there are many different sizes and widths of rice noodles, so make sure you read the directions. For some fresh rice noodles, just a quick 5 second blanch in hot water is all that's needed. The package that I purchased (above) - needed about 45 seconds in boiling water.

Ladling: Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, shredded cooked beef and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. the hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately. Guests can garnish their own bowls as they wish.

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