Monday, October 28, 2013

The "S" Word

The dirty-dirty-bad-no-good-S-word is back! I'm talking about SNOW of course! Autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year, unfortunately it lasts for about 5 days and then comes the snow! BOO! There is only 3 good things that come with snow... Christmas, Snuggles and Soup!
It snowed for the first time this weekend, so we were in desperate need of some belly warming soup! I made PHO! I like to think that I make a mean pho... well I haven't gotten any complaints! But I guess if you complain than you don't get invited back! Haha! Anyways, I often get asked for my pho recipe and my answer is always "I don't have one"! I add a little of this and a little of that, but if you want specific quantities of ingredients then you can just forget it! I have no idea! There are lots of great recipes online, so google away if you want to try and make your own soup! I do have a few tips for you guys though!

1. Parboil your bones. Add the bones to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Let it boil away for a good 5-10mins and then dump and rinse. This helps get rid of the yuckies that you don't want polluting your soup.

2. Most pho recipes call for just onion and ginger. I also like to add carrots and daikon. This helps sweeten the broth naturally so you don't have to add as much sugar! (Rock sugar is best for Pho btw) Actually I like to add carrots and daikon to most broths that I make! They make an amazing team! Don't be cheap on the ginger either... a good broth leaves behind a good-slow-clear-your-sinuses-good-for-your-soul-kind-of-burn and that is achieved from the ginger!

3. Give your veggies a little char. Lucky for me, our range has a grill, so giving the vegg a little char is super easy. But don't fret if you don't have a grill, you can get the same results by running outside to the BBQ haha or moving your oven rack to the top and giving the vegg a nice broil. I have no idea why this makes your soup better, but that little extra love seriously makes soooooooo much difference.

4. While you're at it grilling and broiling away, go ahead and roast your bones too! Again, I don't know the science behind it, but it makes a difference. You can compare it to making soup from roast chicken and how it tastes so much fuller than just regular chicken bones! Don't question it, just do it!

5. Toast your spices. Again a little extra love goes a long way. That little toast brings out the essential oils in the spices and smells heavenly. I use star anise, cloves, cardamom, coriander and cinnamon. Not those pretty looking cinnamon sticks but the Cassia cinnamon that seriously looks like a piece of tree bark. Some peeps only use star anise, some add fennel seeds and this and that... you can do whatever you want... you're the chef! Most people also think that you should add the spices at the beginning... but I actually add it towards the end. Again, I don't know why, but it works. Compare it to cooking something and adding garlic... if you want subtle garlic taste add garlic first, but if you want strong garlic taste add it towards the end.

6. Cook your soup at a slow simmer and don't rush it. Don't boil on high in hopes that it will cook faster, good things are worth the wait. Some people think that after 3 hours of simmering, the bones have given you all they have to offer. But I totally disagree... the longer you simmer, the better!

7. Make a lot!! There is no point in pouring all that time and love into one little bowl. Make a giant pot and invite your friends! Good food always tastes better when shared with good friends!

Okay those are my tips for a Phobulous soup! Haha are you guys feeling overwhelmed? If so, save yourself the trouble and head on over to a Viet restaurant. Or ask nicely and I'll save you a bowl next time!

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