Skip to main content

TopCommentsRedux

Yes, crockpot--you read that correctly. I'm sure my BF's mom didn't realize I'd be attempting the national dish of her home country in the crockpot she gave me for Christmas. But here I am.

I posted a Top Comments diary in May about my first stab at making pho ga (or chicken pho) from scratch. It was quite challenging, and while it turned out pretty good, it was nothing compared to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant's pho ga. And pho ga is supposed to be the easier of the two! I've been wanting to make traditional pho bo (beef pho) from scratch ever since, but the arduousness and complexity of the process scared me away. Who was I to be making Vietnam's national dish anyway?

And then I ran across this. I trust Wandering Chopsticks, from which I've gotten a few Vietnamese recipes, but crockpot pho bo? Could it really be that easy? The idea intrigued me. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. For one thing, a person living alone making a big stockpot full of pho just doesn't make sense. That's a ton of pho, and where would I store it? Secondly, it's well known that a crockpot is wonderful for making stock. So why not pho?

I decided to give it a try. It couldn't be bad--at the very least, it would be mediocre. Not too much to lose.

The result? Well, you'll see, below the rice noodles...

But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...

You don't need very many ingredients to make this recipe. I hesitate to call it a "recipe," by the way, because as I've found after attempting it twice, it is about 10% science and 90% art. Think of it more as a starting point. Everybody has different tastes, so the spices are yours to experiment with.

For the broth, you'll need:

- 1-1/2 pounds of oxtail. (You might not find it in your supermarket. I'm lucky enough to have Fiesta, which has everything, but you might have to find a meat shop. It's worth the effort--oxtail really is the gold standard when it comes to pho broth.)
- A large onion, peeled and studded with about a dozen whole cloves.
- About 5 star anise pods. You might also have to look around for these--I found mine at an Asian market. In fact, if you're like most people I've talked to (including myself before I made pho ga), you probably don't even know what they look like. Here:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

- About a teaspoon of coriander seeds.
- A cinnamon stick or two.
- About a teaspoon of whole cloves.
- A 2-inch knob of ginger, cut into halves or thirds.
- About 4 cloves of garlic, left whole.
- A large peeled carrot, cut into thirds or fourths.
- Two teaspoons of salt.
- Two tablespoons of fish sauce. I skimp and compromise on many things, but fish sauce is not one of them. If you can, buy good Vietnamese nuoc mam (fish sauce). If that's not available, at least get the highest quality you can buy. I get Three Crabs brand fish sauce:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Here's everything you need laid out:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Traditionally, the onion, ginger, and spices are charred to bring out their flavor before you actually begin the broth. In the crockpot recipe, we skip this step. The whole point of the crockpot, after all, is to throw everything in and forget about it, right?

So put the spices in a spice bag (I just used a cheesecloth) and put it in the crockpot, along with the rest of the ingredients.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Fill it all the way up with water.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Cover and turn on the crockpot!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

You're going to want to let it simmer for at least six hours. I let mine simmer for about eight hours and would recommend that you do the same. The longer the broth simmers, the better it gets.

After six to eight hours have passed, you'll (hopefully) be left with a crockpot full of heaven.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Give it a taste, and add more salt or fish sauce if necessary. Then, remove everything from the broth except the oxtail and use a skimmer to skim the impurities off the top of the broth.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Keep that broth simmering while you get ready to assemble the pho. I was having a friend over, so I prepared a garnish plate with sliced white onion, chopped scallions, cilantro (yes, BeninSC, just for you!), basil leaves, and lime wedges. If you'd like, you can skip all of that except the basil leaves--I've been convinced that it's essential to bring out all the flavor of a bowl of pho. Hoisin sauce is also very good in pho. And some people like jalapeños and sriracha sauce in their pho, but that's not really our thing.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

You'll also need some beef to put in your pho. It's recommended that you use eye of round roast, but I couldn't find that in the supermarket, so I used bottom round roast. It truly doesn't matter. Brisket is also excellent in pho, as is flank steak. If tendon or tripe is your thing, that is also a common addition. It's up to you. Whichever meat you choose, cut it as thinly as you can. That is, if you want it cooked all the way through when you pour the broth over it. Personally, I don't mind my meat being pink, so I cut my slices a little thick. Oh, and if you'd like, you can take some oxtail meat (which should be deliciously tender by now) off the bone and add that to the bowl as well.

Finally, you'll need noodles. Use a pack of banh pho noodles. To prepare the noodles, first soak them in water for 30 minutes. Then, drain them, boil a pot of water, and use a sieve to lower the noodles into the boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds.

Immediately put the noodles and sliced meat into a bowl. Then, simply ladle the broth into the bowl, which will immediately cook your meat (or not so much if you cut the meat as thick as I did). Put whatever garnishes you want in the bowl and enjoy!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

So, the result? I was very pleasantly surprised with crockpot pho. I don't think it matches my favorite Vietnamese restaurant's pho, but my friend disagrees. Also, I think the star anise was a little overpowering, and I'd like to use less next time--although, again, my friend disagrees. But really, this recipe is a keeper, and it's so simple and affordable that anybody could do it. And believe me, there's nothing better on a cold winter's night than a crockpot full of pho simmering in your kitchen.

TOP COMMENTS  
January 3, 2014

Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU
when you find that proficient comment.

From Says Who:

I submit this brilliant nonfiction from LeftHandedMan as posted in Barbara Morrill*s diary Fox News' hack has a plan to fix the country.
From *susans:
I would like to nominate smileycreek's response by smileycreek to 4kedtongue's comment.
From JBL55:
This rewrite of Chris Cilizza by TDDVandy is absolutely brilliant.
From Dragon5616:
In Jed Lewison's front page post about Reoublicans called New Year, same idiots, La Gitane had serious questions about the GOP strategy.
From your humble diarist:
In ProgLegs' diary about a Fox News "expert" calling for the assassination of President Obama, ontheleftcoast reminds us of the definition of "expert."

TOP MOJO
January 2, 2014


(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

Got mik!


  1) Sell the courthouses and by global citizen — 129
  2) This is EXACTLY what managed care did to by xxdr zombiexx — 120
  3) Oh, I'm not worried by AoT — 112
  4) Americans are still pissed that not one of those by dkmich — 110
  5) Snowden is a whistle-blower.... by kharma — 96
  6) Obama wouldn't even punish by pierre9045 — 95
  7) What's amazing by raptavio — 91
  8) A couple of subpoenas and by illinifan17 — 81
  9) This is what the Secret Service is for. by judyms9 — 81
10) Jesselyn, thank you for all of your righteous... by bobswern — 78
11) the label by GideonAB — 77
12) a Bachmann effect by annieli — 76
13) Customs should have to post video or photo by Drocedus — 76
14) I have lots of words for people like that. by ExpatGirl — 71
15) Happee Fursdai! by arizonablue — 66
16) I understand that you guys are all doing your by oldpotsmuggler — 66
17) There is no mystery in the lack of criminal by Nospinicus — 64
18) I had a couple of paragraphs on what you're... by bobswern — 63
19) huh? by Tasini — 63
20) Immigration & Customs harassment by NCJan — 62
21) Right, he should come by david mizner — 61
22) The thing is by AnnetteK — 61
23) Actually, having spent more than 30 years... by Meteor Blades — 60
24) "Legality" and Democracy by FogCityJohn — 60
25) Simple, straightforward diary by fcvaguy — 59
26) I'm confident Customs will produce by PhilJD — 59
27) There are no words..... by BoiseBlue — 57
28) Nah. by aseth — 57
29) we lub naptyme by Debbie in ME — 56
30) Bastards. by Batya the Toon — 56

TOP PHOTOS
January 2, 2014


Enjoy jotter's wonderful PictureQuilt™ below. Just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the comment that features that photo. Have fun, Kossacks!

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site