Pho Tai (as this American girl knows it)
In a greased pie plate, half a yellow onion (skin and all), half a red onion (skin and all), slice a 4 inch piece of ginger length wise) – place in oven for 45 – 60 minutes at 400 until the onion and ginger are charred.
Meanwhile, boil 2 lbs of beef neckbones in a 12 qt stock pot for 10 minutes to remove impurities. Drain.
Refill stock pot with 6 quarts of water, add back in the boiled neck bones. Add in 5 star anise, 1 3″ stick of cinnamon, 1 T sugar, 1.5 T salt, 2 T Fish sauce, 6 whole cloves, and 1 lb of beef chuck, sliced so thin you can almost see through it.
Once the onion and ginger are charred, remove from oven. Remove the more papery bits of the onion and place soft onion into stew pot.
Simmer all day. ALL day. A L L day.
Boil 1 pack of rice noodles. Slice 1 yellow onion paper thin. Slice the green parts of 3-4 scallions into small 1 cm pieces. Chop 1/2 cup of cilantro. Have ground black pepper ready.
Prepare a plate of 1 cup of mung bean sprouts (the white crisp kind, not for salads – those are alfalfa), a few stems of mint, a few stems of basil, lime quarters and small fresh jalapeno rings. Have hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce (asian hot sauce) for serving.
When ready to serve – remove the large ginger and onions from the broth, remove the neckbones. Add the yellow onion, scallion, pepper, and cilantro. Allow to boil just until heated through.
Top with the items on the plate – leaves of mint, basil. Squeeze lime juice. Add jalapeno and sauces.
THIS is not your mom’s soup for a cold. And I’m apologizing to my mother personally NOW for saying this – but this soup will kick your mom’s soup’s ass.
I grew up in high school with alot of Vietnamese kids who introduced me to noodle shops here that serve this soup. I’ve had many versions – chicken, fish, beef. meatballs, white meat, dark meat, etc…you name it. I’ve never turned a type away – it’s quite possibly the most fantastic soup you’ll eat in your life.
I’m sorry for the scattered way of writing this recipe. But the order is simply required and whilst the measurements are approximate, you’ll want to play with these as you find your own “zen” with this dish.