PHO {VIETNAMESE BEEF NOODLE SOUP}

What is there that I can say about pho? Except for that I LOVE it to pieces…almost as much as I LOVe my husband. Growing up, pho was something my family ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and I remember it being a treat when I was a wee lil thing and my parents would take us to some pho restaurant with some number on it, like Pho 54 or something like that, and my sisters and I would share a huge bowl, the bowl that translates into the American word train, and it was great!

Now as an adult, I actually prefer making it at home…that way, I can avoid the msg that plagues the pho that I get at restaurants and I feel good I can give my husband a healthier version of one of my fave foods…and on top of that, I prefer my own homemade pho and I can top it with as much tripe as i want. It really excites me to be able to make something I utterly love from scratch.

* 6 servings

5 lbs beef bones {oxtail, neck, shank, marrow, knuckle}
2 lbs chicken bones
1 piece cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves, lightly toasted
5 whole star anise, lightly toasted
4 ounces rock sugar
5 inch pieces of ginger, roasted in oven or charred on stove
2 each yellow onions, roasted in oven or charred on stove
2 tablespoons sea salt
¼ cup fish sauce

Garnishes:
1 lb fresh rice noodles, blanched
1 lb filet mignon, thinly sliced
1 lb beef meatballs with tendons
½ lb tripe, thinly sliced and blanched
1 each yellow onion, sliced thinly in rounds
3 each green onion, thinly sliced
½ bunch cilantro
½ bunch thai basil
1 lb bean sprouts
1 each lime, cut into six wedges
1 dozen saw-leaf herb leaves
1 each serrano chili, cut into slices
Sriracha hot sauce
Hoisin sauce

Directions:
1. In a pot, add all the beef bones and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes and then remove beef bones from pot. Rinse the beef bones in warm water and place beef bones in a large stockpot.
2. Add chicken bones to the large stockpot.
3. Add 8 quarts of water to bones and bring to a boil.
4. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, rock sugar, salt, and fish sauce to stock pot.
5. Simmer the broth for eight hours. Re-adjust the seasonings if necessary.
6. Strain the broth through a sieve.
7. Serve with blanched rice noodles and garnishes.

AHI TUNA TARTARE ON WONTON CHIPS

The only raw fish I’ll eat is ahi tuna. It’s cause my tastebuds aren’t refined to appreciate all those other fishes. Please try out this recipe cause it’s really that good. If not, more for me…although that didn’t really make sense. Sorry. Anyway, I’ll usually make this for a catering gig cause my clients always go crazy for it.

* 12 servings

Tuna Tartare:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 ½ teaspoons wasabi paste
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro , finely chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
1 each avocado, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup English hothouse cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces sushi-grade tuna, cut into 1/4-inch dice

Wonton Chips
20 each wonton wrappers
½ cup vegetable oil
1. Mix first 15 ingredients together to blend.
2. Gently toss in cucumber, tuna, and avocado to combine.
3. Re-season with sea salt if necessary.
4. For the wonton chips, cut each wrapper diagonally to form two triangles.
5. Heat the oil until hot and fry each chip until it turns into a light golden color. Drain on paper towels and serve with the tuna tartare.