Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vietnam, Pho and Market in Da Nang

I am doing one of my favorite things again, going on the market and buying local products. The time of the year is not great to buy fish in Vietnam as it is towards the en of Monsoon and all the rivers are having high water, meaning that they are brown and muddy, so fishing is not so good and the variety of fish is not great.
But we went anyway, driving the 20 minutes from the port into Dan Nang. The Market is not huge, but there is a very nice variety of foods, vegetables, meats and fish. I have to admit, the meat did not look very inviting, nothing is chilled and it was hot and humid on the market, so I stayed away from that.
The fish was really fresh and we found some lovely varieties, ended up buying som Squid and Spanish Mackerel which we put on for the guest on our Seafood BBQ, great hit as they love local ingredients.
Of course I got a whole lot of vegetables as well as it was really great and fresh, the Water Spinach, the Morning Glory (great just stir fried with loads of garlic) the fresh and sweet Mangoes, just wonderful!
I have as well a recipe for the "national" soup here in Vietnam, the Pho (say Fo!). I love that soup and culd have it any time of the day. Usually the meat gets cooked in the stock in a big pot, then when the soup is served, the water gets refilled in the pot and simmered again, so one makes endless soups.
Here is some of the meat, it is pork........yummy!

This recipe is enough for 10 friends

4 kg beef knuckle, with meat
1.5 kg beef oxtail
500 g white (daikon) radish, sliced
3 onions, chopped
20 g whole star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
black peppercorns
30 g slices fresh ginger root
20 g white sugar
30 g salt
25 ml fish sauce

1.1 kg dried flat rice noodles
500 g beef sirloin

sriracha hot pepper sauce
hoisin sauce
thinly sliced onion
chopped fresh cilantro
bean sprouts (mung beans)
sweet Thai basil
thinly sliced green onion
limes, quartered

1.Place the beef knuckle in a very large (9 quart or more) pot. Season with salt, and fill pot with 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 2 hours.

2.Skim fat from the surface of the soup, and add the oxtail, radish and onions. Tie the anise pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and ginger in a cheesecloth or place in a spice bag; add to the soup. Stir in sugar, salt and fish sauce. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 4 more hours (the longer, the better). At the end of cooking, taste, and add salt as needed. Strain broth, and return to the pot to keep at a simmer. Discard spices and bones. Reserve meat from the beef knuckle for other uses if desired.

3.Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Soak the rice noodles in water for about 20 minutes, then cook in boiling water until soft, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Slice the frozen beef paper thin. The meat must be thin enough to cook instantly.

4.Place some noodles into each bowl, and top with a few raw beef slices. Ladle boiling broth over the beef and noodles in the bowl. Serve with hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce on the side. Set onion, cilantro, bean sprouts, basil, green onions, and lime out at the table for individuals to add toppings to their liking.

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