Thursday 25 October 2012

Faux Phô

We all miss certain foods, and while I eat other things when I am away from the kids occasionally, I do miss the variety at home. I think it is good for the kids to become accustomed to different styles of food so that one day, when they are able, they won't be scared to try something a bit different.

I've always liked Vietnamese food, but The Boy never did. The best he would ever eat was spring rolls. He didn't like spice and he wasn't even a fan of rice. But that never stopped me trying, and failsafe isn't going to stop me now either.

A purist would be disgusted with this (as they probably would with any of my adapted recipes) as a genuine one would be a fabulously rich, long cooked beef broth fragrant with spices punctuated with chilli, fresh basil and lime, but it's the best I could do with the ingredients on offer. And it did hit the spot; it is phô at heart.

A few little notes about what I have done here...

I have used some beef stock, but it was left from when I cooked the boeuf à la ficelle which only had the beef in it for about 15 minutes. It was a very mild stock and in my mind I would definitely still classify that as low amine. If you don't have this a chicken stock would work, but it really does want the flavour of a meat stock.

Do you need the alcohol? You could leave it out, but it would really effect the flavour of the dish. The whiskey adds body and fullness and the gin gives the hint of herbs and spice. If it really isn't your thing use a higher quantity of stock than I have.

To slice the beef really finely it is easier if it is partly frozen and you have a very sharp knife. I bought a large roasting piece, put it in the freezer for a few hours, sliced off what I needed for this and put the rest back in the freezer for my roast another day.

Sprouts and sauce ready to add to the Faux Phô - the beef cooks quickly in the broth

Faux Phô
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable stock paste
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 shallots, sliced on an angle (white and most of the green)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 350g beef topside (or similar) finely sliced
  • 200g packet of wide rice noodles, prepared as directed on the packet
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • Citric "lemon" juice
  • Pear ketchup
  • Magic sauce
  1. Place stock, gin, whiskey, stock paste and water into a large pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10mins. Strain the stock, discard the solids and return the liquid to the pot.
  2. Bring back to the boil and add salt, garlic, sugar and half the shallots.
  3. Divide the noodles between four large, deep soup bowls (or big pasta bowls). Divide the beef and remaining shallots between the bowls placing it on top of the noodles.
  4. Ladle the boiling stock into the bowls and serve.
  5. Have sprouts and sauces on the table for each person to add to their taste
  • Salicylates - have sliced fresh red chilli and thai basil with the condiments, you could also add five spice to the broth (all very high).
  •  Amines - Make a good slow cooked beef broth for your base.
While eating this The Boy's words were "This looks like something the Cook and the Chef would make".

I'll take that, thank you.


  1. Looks so delicious. I have not experimented with whiskey nor gin. But I do miss alcohol VERY MUCH! :)

    1. Thanks Evelyn :) I'm sure that experimenting is a very scary thing for you.

  2. I've just made this for dinner tonight - a runaway success! Thank you so much, this will be a regular feature on our menu plan.