Thursday 15 April 2010

What the Phở?

image courtesy of androog, via Wiki CC licence

Greetings. My name is pg and I'm a Phở ho. Or a "fur hur" is we're going to be a stickler for pronunciation.

There's been a lurgy going around THOFAPL over the past 10 days. And rather that put you, dear reader, off your food, let me just best describe it as "gastro"... Gastro that lead to me spending 8 hours in Rosebud Base hospital on Goodness Friday. Gastro, that like a bad house guest has sorely overstayed its welcome and is now just pissing me off.

I have, effectively, made myself lactose intolerant. Meaning much my staple menu is now out-of-bounds. I mean, really, spag bog without the Parm Reg, is really NOT worth the effort.

So we've been "dining" (for want of a better word) on rice, white bread and Maggi noodles.

However, Furry has recently been experimenting with home-made Phở and offered to cook us a pot.

Now you must all sing the "Furry's Majick Phở" song.

"Phở, Phở, Magic Phở"

This is, however, only amusing if a) you know the song I've referenced and b) if you get your pronunciation correct.

Furry slow bakes osso bucco until the fat is rendered and the bones are browned. The bones are then scrubbed under running water and placed in a pot of fresh, cold, water and simmered for several hours. He doesn't seem to worry too much about skimming, and the stock turns out pretty clear. He adds a cinnamon quill, some garlic, some ginger, a few Schezhuan peppercorns, cardamon, coriander and a clove.

Once the broth is fragrant, he adds finely sliced steak and diced chicken. A block of silken tofu always gets diced and added, too.

because this was a sickness Phở, he left off the seafood and the fish balls which I usually love. When I dine out for Phở, I love the tendons and the pizzle and the fatty brisket bits, but this is medicinal Phở, and we thought, under the intestinal circumstances, that it would be best to leave them out. We also eschewed the vinegary white onions. and the fried whitebait that I usually love to add.

Vietnamese dishes are meals typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables and various other accompaniments such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes, and flavor enhancements such as a squeeze of lime or lemon. The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions, coriander, Thai basil (húng quế) (should not be confused with sweet basil - Vietnamese: húng chó or húng dổi), fresh Thai chili peppers, lemon or lime wedges, bean sprouts, and cilantro (ngò rí) or culantro (ngò gai). Although cilantro and culantro have similar names and similar flavors, they are completely different plants.

I like my Phở with bean sprouts, basil, mint, coriander, lime and Hoi Sin sauce. (i usually add a fair dollop of siracha, as well.. but under the circumstances.....) The Phở toppings (Phởppings?) are what makes the dish, making every mouthful a different textural and taste experience. Many an heated discussion has been entered into on "traditional" Phở, in both ingredients and pronunciation, but suffice it to say, that while Furry's Majik Phở (furryfur?) may not win any authenticity competitions, it is nourishing and easily digested. Phở is also an awesome excuse to get into growing herbs, coriander and mint pretty much grow on the back of your neck, here in the Melbourne climate. Both Thai and Vietnamese mint grow well also. There is nothing more satisfying than not just making your own Phở, but pottering down the back steps to pick your own herbs for the Phởppings.

The other secret benefit of Phở, is seeing how many puns you can make on the name.. pho shiz, what the pho, Mo Pho, pho king, absolutely ph0-bulous, 9021 pho... oh, the puns just keep on coming!

Hard to be sick, with a bowl of majick pho in front of you, and your punster son making the above cracks!


Griffin said...

Gastro?...Ewww! I hope you're all better, tho' the Lima Bean is clearly doing a lot better if he's punning like there's not pho-morrow.

Hmmm, Phee, Phi, Pho, Phum, I smell lunch?!

Jazz said...

Phở ho.

As am I. Could you loan me Furry?