Beef Pho – Getting Back to Basics

Vietnamese Comfort Food

Pho was one of the first meals I remember eating (besides baby food). I have memories of my mother standing at the stove, skimming the foam off the broth of a big pot of pho. Most of the time, she made chicken pho (pho ga), but on special occasions she would tackle the tedious task of preparing beef pho (pho bo) from scratch. Every family recipe is different and is passed on from generation to generation; with little amendments here and there as daughters and sons make it their own. Continue reading


Chicken soup: Feeding the heart and soul

Home-made Chicken Stock

*note this post was written on 1/04/13 but because of the craziness of being home after a long hospital visit I didn’t get around to finishing it and publishing it until today.

We had a very eventful new year’s. My loving husband, known here as Thogg, was rushed to the emergency room. We thought it was appendicitus, the doctors worried about gallstones and it turned out to be an obstruction in his small intestine. Long story short, he is finally home after spending the first 4 days of the year in the hospital. I can finally do some laundry, take a real shower, and give the fuzzy family members some real TLC. Our cats didn’t really notice our absence, other than that they didn’t get wet food for a few days but our loving English Labrador is, understandably, a little put out. He has spent the last several hours snuggled at my feet, whether I am standing in the kitchen cooking or sitting here typing.

My first order of business after cleaning the house a bit, doing dishes, and unloading all the things I’d brought to the hospital to keep Thogg occupied was to find something he could eat. For today, he is on a liquids only diet. Tomorrow and the rest of the weekend will be soft foods. Monday he can have meat again. I decided to kill several birds with one stone and make some chicken broth. Tonight he will have clear broth, tomorrow I will use some of it to make rice congee and on monday he can have Pho and maybe congee with chicken meat.

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Lemon Grass and Ginger Scented Pork Broth

So my mother never taught me how to make a traditional Vietnamese clear pork broth. From tasting different versions, I had an inkling what was in them and the other day, I decided to try and make one up. The results were rather spectacular. I could have just sat down with a huge mug and downed it all day. While I didn’t get any pictures of the broth itself, this broth recipe was used in both the Pork Meatball soup ( and the Pork, Tofu and Cabbage soup ( Continue reading