Common garnish served with pho

Let me start by saying I am not Vietnamese. Never have been, never will be. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a mean bowl of Vietnamese Pho noodle soup.

I know I know, if it’s spelled pho it should, phonetically speaking, be pronounced fhho. But it’s not. It’s pronounced fuuuuu. Which is awfully close to a nasty little expletive, and awfully fun to say.

“Hey what’cha got there?”

“Fuuuuuu”

So what is Pho, exactly? According to the Gods of Wikipedia, Pho is “…a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga). The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with basil, lime, bean sprouts, and peppers that are added to the soup by the consumer.”

Let me just tell you, there’s nothing better than a piping hot bowl of Pho on a drizzly East Coast day in Chinatown. It’s like the Asian version of Chicken Noodle Soup, only much, much better.

Being an aficionado of all foods Asian, I decided one day to come up with my own version of Pho for those days when I’m craving some comfort food but nowhere near Chinatown. Unlike the traditional forms of Pho, which most often include beef or chicken, my version is fish-based. This dish has been tried on many a friend, and they’ve all asked for the recipe.

(regarding portions, all I can say is wing it. I’m not one for exact measurements and besides, you should be tasting as you go.)

Seafood Pho Soup
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Ingredients
  1. Chicken stock
  2. Kombu Seaweed
  3. Water
  4. Fish Sauce
  5. Bonito Flakes
  6. Soy Sauce
  7. Udon Noodles
  8. Carrots
  9. Bok Choy
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Tuna
  12. Shrimp
  13. Scallop
  14. Any other fish you like (cubed and cooked)
  15. Mung Bean Sprouts
  16. Fresh Cilantro
  17. Lime Wedges
  18. Thai Basil
  19. Thai Chili Peppers
  20. Chopped Scallions
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot, combine equal parts chicken stock and water.
  2. Add a large sheet of kombu, some bonito flakes, soy and fish sauces to taste.
  3. Bring to a boil, drop to a simmer.
  4. Once the stock is flavored to your liking, remove and dispose of the kombu.
  5. In a separate pot, steam carrots, bok choy and mushroom.
  6. Cook your meats.
  7. Return the stock to a boil, add udon and cook until noodles are done.
  8. Rerduce heat to simmer, add you vegetables.
  9. Ladle soup into bowls larger than your face and serve with garnish on a side dish.
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