Vietnamese food is one of my favorite cuisines. I love the fresh flavors and the complexity of all the ingredients. The little details are wonderful. One signature dish is phó, a traditional soup full of flavor. There are many ingredients in the traditional versions and one of these days, I plan take the time to do it up right. This night, however, I was working with the fridge and pantry I had on hand, a short period of time and the inspiration of a beautiful dish.
While this is not a traditional recipe, this faux phó hits some of the high notes and comes together in no time for a simplified Asian-ish homey noodle soup that is wonderful no matter what the season or time of day. If I had had bean sprouts I would have put a little bunch on top, but alas, I did not. I made do with thinly sliced red bell pepper and the little cool crunch was just right.
Simplified Vietnamese-Style Beef Noodle Soup
8 oz. sirloin, sliced very thinly across the grain
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups beef broth
6 oz. rice noodles
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1/2 cup green onion
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
Red pepper matchsticks and/or bean sprouts for garnish
In a soup pot heat sesame oil over medium high heat. Add sliced sirloin and crushed red pepper. Stir fry until beef is browned. Add mushrooms and carrot and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, place noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them soak for about 5-10 minutes until soft.
Add beef broth, fish sauce, and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add noodles and green onion. Simmer another few minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed. Ladle into bowls and top with peppers and/or sprouts.