As most of you will have seen, I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks travelling down the east coast of Vietnam during July. I had an amazing time seeing the sights, learning about the history and just downright chilling by the pool on occasion. It really is an incredible country, and any one who followed my trip on my story would have seen how many touching stories and overwhelming museums I managed to soak up. It really does bring everything into perspective when you visit a country that’s been so torn apart by war and colonial repression historically. Especially when despite that the people have such a positive and forgiving outlook on life. I got home with a really fresh and excited attitude to life AND, more exciting for me, being food obsessed, I also managed to piece together my favourite bits from each Pho I tried and (drumroll please…) THIS IS THE RESULT.
A common theme for me in Vietnam was too many fresh herbs in the soup. So I’ve gone more specific, with some simple coriander, also called Chinese parsley. On that note, Vietnam is also still a developing country, so the meat is always a bit sparse. I feel like a lack in the flavour that you get from the meat in a soup like this could be the reason for so many herbs. When you can grab a big rump steak here for as little as £2.33 (Lidl), you can bring so much juicy flavour to a noodle soup like Pho for very little expense. As a result, I have to be honest and admit that I’ve had better Pho soups in London than I got in Vietnam. However, because there’s more need to bring flavour with herbs over there, if you bring that vast array of herbs down a touch and throw it together with better quality meat (and plenty of chilli) you can find a brilliant hybrid between the two. Which I like to think I’ve done here.
Plus there’s always the fact that this will set you back a mere £1.82 per portion, whereas you’d pay £12 in a restaurant in London!
Beef stock (1L) (2 cubes) (10p)
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce (5p)
2 Rump Steaks (£4.66) (Lidl) OR (Bulk order from musclefoods – Use LEANSTUDENT1 to save £5 on me!)
150g Rice Noodles (56p)
6 Spring Onions (40p)
200g Beansprouts (37p)
1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic (10p)
1/2 Tbsp Lemongrass paste (8p)
1 Tbsp Powdered Ginger (10p)
4 Star Anise (20p)
1 tbsp Cinnamon (10p)
4 Fresh Red Bird Eye Chillis (20p)
20g (handful) Fresh Coriander (25p)
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce (10p)
You’ll need a wok. Try to season the Steak with a few sprays of low cal butter, plenty of pepper, 1 tbsp garlic and 1 tsbp soy sauce at least 2 hours before and leave to get to room temperature. It’s not the end of the world if not though!
- On a high heat in the wok, pop the steak on with all of the seasoning juices and cook for 2 and a half minutes on each side, before transferring to a plate or chopping board. Whilst it cooks, slice the chilli into thin lengths, roughly chop the coriander and chop the spring onions.
- Once the steak is resting, lower the heat to medium. Then add the 1.8 L of boiling water, 2 cubes of beef stock, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp ginger, 4 star anise pods, chilli, 1/2 tbsp lemongrass paste, 15g fresh coriander, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp soy sauce and plenty of pepper. Stir thoroughly. Then leave to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and again.
- Then remove the star anise pods before adding the spring onions and beansprouts for a 3 minutes.
- Finally, slice the slice into thin slices and add the Noodles and Steak for 2 minutes more.
- Serve it up in 4 bowls, sprinkle on the rest of the coriander and ENJOY!