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The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam's Favorite Soup and Noodles Hardcover – February 7, 2017
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Winner of the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award for "Single Subject" category
With this comprehensive cookbook, Vietnam’s most beloved, aromatic comfort food--the broth and noodle soup known as pho--is now within your reach.
Author Andrea Nguyen first tasted pho in Vietnam as a child, sitting at a Saigon street stall with her parents. That experience sparked a lifelong love of the iconic noodle soup, long before it became a cult food item in the United States.
Here Andrea dives deep into pho’s lively past, visiting its birthplace and then teaching you how to successfully make it at home. Options range from quick weeknight cheats to impressive weekend feasts with broth and condiments from scratch, as well as other pho rice noodle favorites. Over fifty versatile recipes, including snacks, salads, companion dishes, and vegetarian and gluten-free options, welcome everyone to the pho table.
With a thoughtful guide on ingredients and techniques, plus evocative location photography and deep historical knowledge, The Pho Cookbook enables you to make this comforting classic your own.
From the Publisher
Quick Chicken Pho
Serves 2 - Takes about 40 minutes
Great for pho beginners, this recipe is also terrific for cooks in a hurry. It involves less than 45 minutes, during which you’ll doctor up store-bought broth so it says, 'I’m pho-ish'.
The keys to this streamlined approach include toasting spices and dry sautéing the ginger and green onion, which help to extract flavor fast. Poaching the chicken in the broth adds savory depth. You’ll practice some fundamental pho techniques that you can apply elsewhere, too. Choose a broth that tastes like chicken, such as Swanson brand, which is less fussed up and easy to manipulate. You need two 14.5-ounce (411 g) cans or one 32-ounce (907 ml) carton.
Peel then slice the ginger into 4 or 5 coins. Smack with the flat side of a knife or meat mallet; set aside. Thinly slice the green parts of the green onion to yield 2 to 3 tablespoons; set aside for garnish. Cut the leftover sections into pinkie-finger lengths, bruise, then add to the ginger.
Coarsely chop the leafy tops of the cilantro to yield 2 tablespoons; set aside for garnish. Set the remaining cilantro sprigs aside.
In a 3- to 4-quart (3 to 4 l) pot, toast the coriander seeds and clove over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ginger and green onion sections. Stir for about 30 seconds, until aromatic. Slide the pot off heat, wait 15 seconds or so to briefly cool, then pour in the broth.
Return the pot to the burner, then add the water, cilantro sprigs, chicken, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to gently simmer for 30 minutes.
While the broth simmers, soak the rice noodles in hot water until pliable and opaque. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
After 5 to 10 minutes of simmering, the chicken should be firm and cooked through (press on it and it should slightly yield). Transfer the chicken to a bowl, flush with cold water to arrest the cooking, then drain. Let cool, then cut or shred into bite-size pieces. Cover loosely to prevent drying.
When the broth is done, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer positioned over a 2-quart (2 l) pot; line the strainer with muslin for superclear broth. Discard the solids. You should have about 4 cups (1 l). Season with fish sauce and sugar (or maple syrup), if needed, to create a strong savory-sweet note.
Bring the strained broth to a boil over high heat. Put the noodles in a noodle strainer or mesh sieve and dunk in the hot broth to heat and soften, 5 to 60 seconds. Lift the noodles from the pot and divide between the 2 bowls.
Lower the heat to keep the broth hot while you arrange the chicken on top of the noodles and garnish with the chopped green onion, cilantro, and a sprinkling of pepper. Taste and adjust the broth’s saltiness one last time. Return the broth to a boil and ladle into the bowls. Enjoy with any extras, if you like.
- 3⁄4-inch (2 cm) section ginger
- 2 medium-large green onions
- 1 very small (.5 oz | 15 g) bunch cilantro sprigs
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 whole clove
- 3 1⁄2 to 4 cups (840 ml to 1 l) low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups (480 ml) water
- 1 (6 to 8 oz | 180 to 225 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh
- About 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 ounces (150 g) dried narrow flat rice noodles
- 2 to 3 teaspoons fish sauce
- About 1⁄2 teaspoon organic sugar, or 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
- Pepper (optional)
- Optional extras: Garnish Plate for 2, 1⁄3 cup (90 ml) Ginger Dipping Sauce
- DAVID CHANG, coauthor of Momofuku and cofounder of Lucky Peach
“Andrea Nguyen is the world’s greatest expert in Vietnamese cooking. Her latest book is a stunning and comprehensive guide to pho, that country’s most delicious food. Everything you ever wanted to know about pho is here: how to make it, how to eat it, its history, its regional variations—and so much more. All lovers of Asian food need to own this most extraordinary book.”
- JAMES OSELAND, author Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore
“Andrea Nguyen is the kind of writer who doesn’t just show you how to follow her recipes, she also teaches you how to be a better cook. This book is a fantastic example. You’ll learn how to make delicious pho while also gaining a whole new sensibility around an unfamiliar pantry. Buy this book. Cook from it. You'll end up a far better cook than you were before.”
- PIM TECHAMUANVIVIT, proprietress of Kin Khao
"Nguyen’s recipes are a cook’s dream: well tested, easy to follow, and written in a friendly, conversational style. This is not unique to The Pho Cookbook; cooking from any of Nguyen’s books is like listening to an incredibly patient friend explain a recipe over the telephone."
- Lucky Peach
"Nguyen is a master teacher when it comes Vietnam’s national dish, and in her new book she provides meticulously clear instructions for every imaginable variety—we recommend you cook through every chapter."
- Food & Wine
"With the same clarity and care displayed in her previous books, Nguyen guides even the nervous first-time pho navigator to slurp-worthy success."
- NPR.org, Best Books of 2017
"Great for: Pho addicts or home cooks enamored with fragrant broths and Vietnamese comfort food."
- Bay Area News Group
"For lovers of pho, the hearty and delicious Vietnamese noodle soup, this is a wonderfully approachable guide to making your own at home."
- NPR's Here & Now Best Cookbooks of 2017
About the Author
- Publisher : Ten Speed Press; Illustrated edition (February 7, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 168 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1607749580
- ISBN-13 : 978-1607749585
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.29 x 0.7 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #33,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on March 2, 2017
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By Paul A. Johnson on March 1, 2017
The recipes are quite good, and have convinced me that yes--it IS possible to make delicious pho right at home. The author offers two traditional long-simmered versions from Hanoi and Saigon, each with a slightly different focus and flavor profile, and quicker versions you can make in the pressure cooker or with a quick simmer on the stove. The Fuji apple that the author calls for really does provide just the right note of sweetness that was missing from my earlier efforts. It is interesting that the author starts her pho chapters with the chicken versions, rather than the beef--which dominates the menus at my favorite Vietnamese place down the street, and the chicken is secondary. I like that the author offers versions that you can make with store-bought broth and that there's considerable space devoted to optimizing pho for the pressure cooker, something that's become a staple in my household to get dinner on the table quickly for 2 little ones.
I deducted a star for the layout and styling of this cookbook, which detracts from an otherwise 5-star read. IMO, the text is too small, and the visuals are uneven. There's many lovely photos of streetside cafes and kitchens in Vietnam, but not enough of the dishes themselves. When I'm cooking an unfamiliar cuisine, I like to have a visual cue to what the finished dish should look like. Some dishes are photographed, but others are not. IMO a cookbook that is calling for techniques that may be unfamiliar to the novice (or even experienced) home cook, like charring aromatics and skimming broth, should be replete with pictures to show you what to do. There are other curious design choices that end up detracting from the finished product. All of the pho spices are varying shades of brown, but they're photographed on a dark brown wood background, making them difficult to see. Likewise, the page that lists the rice noodles has them nicely arrayed...on a neutral background. The chart comparing stockpot vs. pressure cooker simmering has white text on a grainy peeling background, which makes it difficult to read. I suspect the stylist was going for a rustic look with the photos, which I guess makes sense because pho is a homey and comforting dish, but it doesn't really work.