Pho is actually really simple to make, but I wanted to breakdown what I've learned from my mom, and many iterations of trying to replicate her version. I wouldn't say this recipe is traditional or authentic. I'd just say it's good. Having eaten pho a dozen times and a dozen different ways, all over Vietnam, I can only say there are good and bad preparations of this dish, but no official one that rules them all.
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Rokurinsha's tsukemen is probably the most popular in Tokyo right now. If you've never tried tsukemen, it's a dipping ramen.
Every summer, the kitchen team participates in sending off our interns with a very special gathering and dinner. This year, the theme was grad night. We were asked to do some portable familiar foods, and fancy it up a little. Here's our contribution:
I really respect David Chang, and the Momofuku brand, or more appropriately--empire--that he's built. His cookbook is one of the most approachable I've read, and is accessible to anyone even remotely interested in eating.
My Pastry Chef, and good friend, Jenna Ricks and her husband, John, throw an annual pig roast every year during Labor Day weekend.
Had a great ice cream sandwich at State Bird Provisions and couldn't get it out of my mind. The next day, while eating ramen, I had an idea...
dan dan noodles | sichuan spiced oil - iberico broth - jamon - shanghai noodles
"Dan dan" refers to the pole that street vendors originally used to carry the fresh noodles who made this dish popular. This dish tastes different every where I've had it. I like the flavors, but I usually get palate fatigue before I can finish a serving. The best I've had was at Spicy Town in Fremont. It's numbingly spicy, both from the amount of chilies, and the heavy use of sichuan peppercorns. It's intense, it makes you piss sweat and your lips feel as though you've rubbed it on habanero sandpaper, but it's delicious if you can manage the pain.
My version is more subtle. I clarified a broth made from jamon iberico bones and served with a noodle sample from Rice Valley. I made an oil with the same spices found in most Sichuan staples (coriander, garlic, chilies, sichuan peppercorns, cumin), and separated the liquids from the solids, and smeared the latter on the sides so the diners could control the heat at their discretion. Top that with some sliced jamon, and we have some fancied-up dan dan noodles.
raw scallops & coke farms strawberries | sake sherbet - pink peppercorns - fried sesame
This was dish conceived through improvisation of ingredients on hand. One of my favorite pairings is strawberry and pink peppercorn. It just works. The sherbet acts as a chewable dressing for the salad.
hen of the woods | koji marinated chicken - foie - truffle demi - siberian miner's lettuce
The breast was marinated in koji, which is rice inoculated with the bacteria 'aspergillius oryzae.' The same bacteria responsible for the fermentation of sake, soy sauce, miso, and a good majority of the Japanese pantry. If you'd like to learn more, listen to David Chang's lecture at Harvard, where he covers in detail.