Seriously, this was really half-assed, even for me. But (to my uncultured lazy American palate) it still tasted a lot like pho!
First of all, I fail at buying mushrooms. I went in to the grocery store planning to get shitaake mushrooms. When I got home and was unpacking my grocery bags, I realized that I’d grabbed portobellos. (Confession time–all mushrooms taste pretty much exactly the same to me! See what I said about my uncultured American palate? I’m pretty sure my mom’s Italian ancestors are rolling over in their graves right now)
Okay, on to the (very) faux pho!
First of all, you want to put about 1 1/2-2 cups of beef broth (or water with beef bullion–I used Better than Bullion) per serving in a pot. Add:
-2-3 star anise
-a piece of cinnamon stick
-3+ whole cloves (I use three when I’m making a single serving…if you’re making a lot, you might want to increase the number a bit)
-a piece of whole ginger (or if you’re half-assing it like me, just dump in about 1/2-1 tsp. ground ginger)
Put the pot on high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to med to simmer, stirring occasionally. Recipes I’ve seen tell you to simmer this for at least 30 minutes, but I only let it go for 15 minutes this last time, and it still tasted great!
While that’s simmering, cut up some cheap cut of meat (I believe mine was actually called “stir fry beef” on the package, it was so high quality! :-P) into bite sized pieces, using about 2 oz. per serving. Saute the beef in some sesame oil until it’s cooked, and then put it aside to cool a bit.
Now, get your noddles of choice ready. Rice noodles are traditional (I think?), but I’ve been craving soba noodles recently (yes, I crave strange things…no, I’m not pregnant), so I boiled up some of those. Again, use 2-3 oz per serving (or more, if you really like noodles!)
Then, put together your fixings. These are totally up to you; I just went with my not-shitaake mushrooms (see above :-P), shredded carrots, cilantro, and the previously cooked beef.
Once the broth is done simmering, strain it through a fine mesh sieve into the bowl, and add the (drained) noodles, fish sauce, and lime. And of course, dump in as much Sriracha as you can handle! 😀
Yay (very) faux pho!