Wednesday, June 10

Pho bo and daikon pickles

Jac style pho bo with condiments - recipe to follow

I haven't spent a whole lot of time cooking lately and it is driving me mad. I'm just busting for a big, complex project. I spent 5 hours making sushi Saturday morning for the baby shower (blog on that to follow) but that was like riding a bike, even though I hadn't done it for so long, so wasn't enough of a challenge (it all got eaten with gusto though!)

Last night I decided to try my hand at making Pho (I had a craving) and it turned out much better than I was expecting. I modified this Food Network recipe, and since I didn't think it would work so well I didn't take progress shots. Basically what I did was take a large box of really good liquid beef stock (I didn't have time to make my own this round - next time Gadget...), add a couple of slices of fresh ginger, 2 star anise and a cinnamon stick, and boil it for a while. I added a little palm sugar, some salt and a dash of soy but that was to taste depending on the stock. I also added a dash of chili since I like it to have the tiniest edge of heat. I pulled the cinnamon out when it was starting to smell really rich, but didn't take the rest out until I served it. I had to dilute it slightly as it reduced otherwise it was going to become less pho and more beef noodle soup.

While the pot was bubbling I thinly sliced half an onion into half moons, chopped up some bok choy and cut a couple of pieces (bit less than a pound) of sirloin steak into the thinnest slices I could manage. I also cooked some rice stick noodles and had them rinsed and ready to go (doesn't matter if they cool off, the soup is pretty hot when it hits them)

I also prepared the toppings. These are things you add to the pho after it has been served, including coriander leaves, basil leaves, lime wedges, bean sprouts and chilies.

The last stage was easy, but fast and furious. Have the soup bubbling super hot, throw in the onion, beef and bok choy, stir it around once and basically dish it straight up. Ladle the soup etc into a large bowl with a nest of noodle in the bottom. Eat immediately, after adding your own toppings from the condiments plate. Some people also have a dish of hoisin or hot sauce to dip their meat in, or they add it straight to the soup, but I like it just with the lime, herbs and sprouts.

Other things I've made recently that came out pretty darn well include stewed rhubarb, with vanilla beans, orange, ginger and some of the candied cumquats I'd made earlier; sour chili pickled turnips tsukemono style and also tsukemono style pickled daikon. The daikon is probably my favorite (although Josie loves the turnips but she's a sucker for vinegar).

Daikon pickles

Basic rundown of the daikon recipe is as follows. Peel the daikon (mine was about 50cm long so I only used half!), cut it in half lengthways then into half moons. Place it in a bowl with a couple of decent pinches of salt, and mix well until it is all lightly salted. The salting kills bad stuff, draws out some water and seasons the radish ready for pickling.

While the daikon is being salted, bring some soy sauce, palm sugar, mirin, and rice wine to the boil and add a star anise and some Sichuan peppercorns. I can't tell you the exact quantities because I was doing it by feel but about equal parts soy and rice wine, a dash of mirin and maybe a tablespoon of palm sugar. The volume of pickling liquid you need obviously depends on the size of your jar and the volume of daikon. Boil until well infused with the star anise.

After about 20 minutes of salting, rinse the daikon well (several times) and press between paper towel to dry. Fill a clean glass jar with the radish half moons and then pour over the slightly cooled pickling liquid, including the whole spices. Store in the fridge for a day, giving it a good shake up once or twice, and they're ready to snack on the next day! Crunchy, sweet, salty and spiced pickles...mmm


Mothersupex said...

y goodness you have been busy, but you were doing lots of that when I had my long talk to your wonderful partner :-)

I wish to taste the cumquats and all the other goodies, so don't forget how to do them, for when you return to the big island.

You are pretty wonderful at putting your hand to most things and coming out with extraordinary results.

Thats my girl :-)

Mothersupex said...

Sorry, was too fast, the first word is My goodness :-(

jenna said...

Does "pickles" go with "pregnant?" Much love to you all. In made rush to get to Perth. Ph and J x x x x PS Sylvia's 21st totally sick :)

Big A said...

Nah, she has always loved a bit of sour. She used to chew on lemons when she was small.

Jac said...

It's actually me who has had the insatiable need for pickles, both making and eating them, ever since she got pregnant!

Dumblond said...

Five hours cooking?! Man there is no way I'd do that. I bow to your culinary superiority...