Most people I know love to enjoy a warm bowl of Pho on a cold night – especially if they’re feeling sick, hungover, or they have a cold. The dreaded cold and flu season has arrived, and you’ve probably already noticed it going around the office.
One of the perks of living in a big city is the countless options for food delivery when you’re feeling unwell or lazy. Gone are the days when you have to put on something presentable and struggle to drag your sick, lazy, cold, hungover or germ-ridden body out of the house in search of comfort food. Vietnamese Pho is one of the most popular choices, but take-out is expensive and I wonder if you’ve considered learning how to make your own Pho. When you’re feeling crappy, the last thing you want to do is cook, but this is a super simple recipe to have on hand with ingredients you can easily keep stocked in case of an emergency. If I added up the amount of money I’ve spent in a year on take out, well I’d be able to buy organic every single day and eat like a Queen. The reality is that I’m a woman in my 30s with some seriously heavy partying days behind me, who is finally maturing. As I get older, I pay more attention to where my money goes and more importantly what my body needs most. So, I took matters into my own hands and worked to recreate my favourite take out dishes in the comfort of my test kitchen.
This DIY Pho recipe is the perfect preventative recipe for you if you’re hoping to ward off the bug or ease that plugged nose by holding your face over a steaming bowl of broth.
Now, this recipe does take a bit of pre-planning, but as usual I have a few kitchen hacks for you to make it a bit easier on a whim. The biggest tip I have for the recipe being a success is thinking ahead when you have some time over a weekend or weeknight in.
The key this recipe holds for helping you remedy your cold/flu symptoms is in the broth. Broth is not usually something I make to have on hand all the time, but it’s something I’m working towards having more of now that I’m no longer living in the city and it’s a very long walk to the store. Bone broth has a heck of a lot of healing properties. Think of what your parents used to reach for when their poor baby was laying sick and helpless in front of the TV. Probably a can of chicken noodle soup. The broth in the soup was the key to abolishing mucus build up, alleviating the stuffed-up pathways you use to breathe. The soup also has protein, which helped a bunch in raising energy levels. Moms knew a lot about this stuff, and the principles remain the same today. Thankfully, a lot more of us are now in search of leading a more simplistic life. That being said, it’s much healthier to make your own soup – and much cheaper.
You’ve heard it before (I can literally hear my mom’s voice in my head whenever I feel sick), “drink lots of fluids”. That’s easier said than done. We are A) lazy because we’re big sick babies who have empty water glasses and B) we worry that anything we put into our bodies might just make us feel worse. This is especially true when you’re dealing with the most commonly used excuse for missing work in your 20s – the hangover. Bone broth has been proven to boost your hydration levels a lot more than water does, and pho is a fantastic hangover food. There’s major electrolytes in this special elixir that give you a much better boost than any sports drink will, so put down the Gatorade and reach for a cup of broth.
Scientists did a bunch of studies which revealed that your gut health has a direct correlation to your brain. That means that bone broth is also great for your mental health, anxiety and stress.
This Pho recipe below isn’t all broth. It’s got the noodles, meat, and other good stuff too. The bone broth is the best part, though, and my favorite recipe of it can be found here. Keep in mind the broth should simmer for at least 24 hours on low heat. It takes very little care and attention but just a simple reminder to not leave your stove on if you need to leave the house. Simply turn it off and turn it back when you return home. Keep track of the hours. The longer it simmers, the better. Special note to my vegetarian/vegan friends, you can make broth too. Just leave out the bones and work with your veggie scraps. You’ll get a good amount of electrolytes and carbs from it.
If you’re anemic or low in iron, you’ll also benefit from the red meat and spinach in this recipe. If you’ve been following my test kitchen, then you know how much I love a good pasta (send noods). Vietnamese soups, or Pho, have a great deal of rice noodles, so you get the pasta craving but it’s easier on the tummy. Plus, it’s gluten free. Follow the recipe below to whip up my DIY take out version of Vietnamese Noodle Soup.
(Makes 2 LARGE bowls of Pho)
• 1lb Organic Top Sirloin Steak
• 4 cups beef bone broth **see cheat broths below
• 2 organic green onions
• 2 handfuls fresh basil
• 2 handfuls fresh cilantro
• 2 handfuls fresh spinach
• 1 large lime
• 4 tbsp fish sauce
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil
• 250g medium sized rice stick noodles
1) Bring medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add noodles. Let cook for 6-8 minutes.
2) While the noodles cook, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Season your steak liberally on both side with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3) Sear your steak (that simply means to create a crust on all sides). Lay down in the pan on one side for about 1 minute then turn and repeat for the other side. You want the inside of the steak to be quite rare as the heat from the broth will continue to cook it once it’s added to the soup.
4) Remove steak from pan and lay to rest on a board for about 5 minutes.
5) While the steak rests, drain your rice noodles and rinse the under cold water.
6) In large pot, bring your beef bone broth to a boil. Reduce heat and leave on a light simmer until the remaining ingredients are prepared in your bowl.
7) Thinly slice your green onion, tear your basil and cilantro and slice your lime into wedges (like you would to garnish a cocktail).
8) Slice your steak as thinly as you can AGAINST the grain. The steak will have natural lines running across the top. Slice across the lines, not with them. This helps encourage tenderness when you’re eating it.
9) Build the bowl – noodles in the bottom, then your spinach, topped with your perfectly cooked steak, and finally the cilantro, green onion and basil. Once you have all your ingredients assembled, pour over that steaming bone broth.
10) Add sriracha and fish sauce to taste. I love going heavy on the fish sauce with just a little heat from the sriracha but to each their own. Finish by juicing your lime wedges.
*Kate’s Favorite Cheat Bone Broths
1) Bluebird Provisions Frozen Beef Bone Broth
2) Whole Foods Frozen Bone Broth
The results are in kids and the reasons I listed above are far from completing the list of how good this stuff is for you! It reduces inflammation (be gone 30 year old lower back pain!), is great for your skin, and reduces cellulite! I could go on and on but I want you to get into the kitchen! Share your results, questions and comments with me on Instagram by following @katestestkitchen. Happy October!