project food blog challenge #2: classic pho

I had to have more Pho and I had to have it now. But we went out because the recipes were overwhelming, it takes too long to make and it is dirt cheap in restaurants. Oxtails? Beef knuckles? Star Anise Pods? Where do I even buy such things?

Then came the news that I had made it to Challenge #2 for the Project Food Blog and the challenge was a classic dish from a culture you aren’t familiar with.  There was no question in my mind and I’d be making Pho sooner than I thought.

Pho is a dish that I have never made or never attempted, but if you follow me on twitter, you know that I dedicated a whole day to finding the perfect Pho restaurant in Minneapolis and recipe, only to decide the recipe was a little too much work. I normally don’t take the easy way out, but a dish that requires over a day to prepare is a little much for my healthy, simple and delicious mantra.

But there was a challenge and I had a recipe, so the cooking process began with the broth. As the onion and ginger were browning, and the meat simmering with water, I started to smell the Pho and my worries of it not turning out faded away. The aroma coming from the broth was so enticing I almost didn’t want to wait for the next day to start slurping.

The ample soup is spicy, savory, filling and fresh tasting all served up in an oversized bowl with chopsticks and an asian soup spoon. One of the reasons I love Pho, and Vietnamese cuisine, for that matter is because the majority of the seasoning is done at the table, to your own taste. Need more sriracha? A little more hoisin? It’s all there.

The components are layered in a deep bowl – the short ribs, the beef, the noodles and finally the broth. Then the toppings and flavorings are all up to you. My favorites are lime, bean sprouts, jalapeño slices, fresh basil and mint. Oh and lots of sriracha.

How did the pho turn out? It didn’t taste exactly the same as in the Restaurants, and I may be lacking some Vietnamese cuisine experience, but that just means I’ve got some experimenting to do in the kitchen, and that’s something I’m perfectly fine with.

Voting begins Monday!


  1. says

    I’m not familiar with Pho, but I am very impressed with your day-long commitment to make it! I committed to 30 minutes of de-peeling garbanzo beans today and that about did me in. Way to go! I hope you advance to challenge 3!

  2. Frank says

    Way to go Em! Natalie puts rock sugar in hers… not a lot. It’s a nice touch. Oh and don’t forget the fish sauce! A stinky but flavorful necessity.

    But congrats!

  3. says

    YOU MADE MY FAVORITE!! Yours’ looks amazing, and I’m sure it tasted just as good too!

    I’m definitely still down for a trip to Quang, if you want to go! That’s for sure my favorite (in Minneapolis) for Pho.

  4. says

    Classic dishes usually are a lot of work…which is why they’re so worth it! I’m glad you stuck to it, beause that looks so good. I love pho with lots of sriracha sauce!

  5. says

    I’ve never tried Pho before, but my siblings rave about it. I’d be too afraid to make it myself using the animal ingredients, but I’d totally make a vegetarian version!

  6. says

    It looks amazing! I’m all about simple dishes too, so would have been hesitant to make this. Great job really going out of the comfort zone. :)

  7. says

    my life never has enough pho in it. this looks absolutely freaking delicious!

    p.s. you around saturday morning for a breakfast date with me, angharad and madeline?!?! let me know!

  8. says

    As much as I love Asian food I have to admit that I have never had Pho. I do, however, have the noodles in my pantry to make it. This looks great and I’m headed off to vote!

  9. says

    I love pho on a cold winter day. I’d be curious how much sodium your homemade version had compared to restaurants. It looks amazing. I never realized there were mint leaves in it. Always thought it was just the basil. Congrats on advancing!!

  10. says

    Okay, first things first, I’ve never had pho before (much to the shock of my Toronto foodie friends). So I guess it shouldn’t come a a surprise that I had no clue it was so time consuming to make (it’s SOUP!) or that it’s layered! Now I really want to try it!

    Oh, and voted ;)

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