Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Experimenting with pho!







Every time I visit the US, I resolve to do 2 things. To stay away from Indian food and to eat Vietnamese food every chance I get! I think outside of dal and roti, it might be my favorite cuisine yet! Its healthy and very vegetarian friendly. On this recent trip I stayed pretty true to this resolution...except of course when my cousin's mom-in-law (my cousin is married to a Punjabi gal) was cooking up true blue authentic Punjabi fare, I just could not pass it up! So aside from this one digression, I pretty much ate all non-Indian food. Not only did I get my fill of Vietnamese food, I came back armed with all the ingredients, the know-how and the determination to reproduce it in my Hyderabadi kitchen! Plus my recent Williams and Sonoma cutting board, knife and garlic press purchases, motivated me even more to head to the kitchen and start cooking in seriousness!

My husband's favorite is pho - a rice noodle soup in a steaming hot broth, garnished with bean sprouts, fresh mint, cilantro, basil, lime wedges, sliced chili peppers and fried tofu! And a dash of sriracha or hoisin sauce to pep things up a bit. My favorite is the spring roll, which is basically fresh herbs, chives, julienned red peppers and carrots, tofu and rice noodles all wrapped up in a moistened rice paper, and served with a peanut dipping sauce.

So how did my first experiment with Vietnemese cooking go...? Pretty good I think....here are some pics of the entire process...the prep work is a bit tedious, cutting and dicing all those veggies, but at the end it is so worth it.
Star anise, the first time I have used this and it made my kitchen smell just wonderful...it has a fragrant, spicy aroma!
Coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, onions, stock cubes, cilantro



Veggies...scallions, bok choy, mushrooms, green papaya, red peppers

Getting the stock going.....ahhh the smell! I also threw in some bok choy stalks for good measure!

Rice noodles

Ingredients for the peanut sauce.....rice wine vinegar, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter

Rice paper wrappers

Veggies ready to be wrapped

Ta da.....rice paper spring rolls with sauce

Pho is ready.....



The best thing about this meal besides the fact that is is healthy and easy to make, is that it is almost entirely fat free! I didn't use a drop of oil in the cooking today! This was the recipe I used for the pho, and this one for the spring rolls with some minor variations..you can pretty much put whatever veggies you want. The rolls were a bit tricky at first to moisten and wrap, and I had to toss a couple of wrappers, but once you get the hang of it is is as easy as pie. The peanut sauce was a concoction of all the ingredients....adding more or less of each to taste. I also added a bit of honey to sweeten it. Bon Appetit!

11 comments:

Anpu said...

The Pho and spring rolls look so yummy and tasty...You have made it so easy with the directions and pics...
Love that measuring spoon,...it is so unique...Thanks for sharing

PreeOccupied said...

I have cravings for Pho, but never made it home. You are a surprise package. The Spring rolls and Pho look very authentic. How cute is that measuring spoon of yours.

Anu@My Dream Canvas said...

Seattle is Pho land, so I echo your setiments!! Now I need to come to Hyderbad to have yours....looks yummy!!

Kamini said...

Anpu and Pree.....thanks, the measuring spoon is part of a pewter set of 4, bought at Fireworks in Seattle with a gift certificate I got when we were leaving Seattle. They have really quirky stuff!
Anu - come over! I'll save some for you :-)

Sruthi said...

looks yum!bet it tasted yummier :).like the measuring spoon

GB said...

Kamini, that looks pho-nomenal(sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Never tried to make it as we can go out and eat this. I like that it has no oil! I think I my need to start making this at home. also, do you have any idea if cooking spray is available in India? Any recommendations on the brands?

eve's lungs said...

Kamini - looks so utterly delish its all I can do not to make a grab at it !

Chidambaram said...

Phantastic Pho ! K hit it bang on target !! More today !!!

- Raga, Phan of Pho

Sound Horn Please said...

The photos look so beautiful and I now want to eat Vietnamese! I always thought its very vegetarian unfriendly, so never did try it...

rk said...

Looks delicious, I am taking out my rice papers from the pantry tonight! I haven't gone through your recipes yet, but I soak rice papers in warm water to make them soft, pliable and easy to wrap.

Shweta said...

Kamini, I am a vegeterian living in Vietnam - and I am surrounded by Pho at every corner in the city but unfortunately cant have any coz "vegeterian" is an alien concept out here. Now I can make some at home !