While walking the soup aisle of Superstore (if you haven’t visited one in Canada, it’s a no-frills, basic grocery store), my heart was in my mouth when I looked to my right and saw that Campbell’s now makes Pho broth for home! I could have done a jig and clicked my heels with delight. I loaded up with a couple tetra paks and headed straight to the veg area for green onion, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro and lime.
Now, I will put this disclaimer out there — if you have travelled to Vietnam and enjoyed pho made fresh and piping hot in the early morning, you will be disappointed. I spent a very short four days there and enjoyed beautiful food. I’ve only found a couple restaurants in Vancouver that can compare with the real thing; however, if you want something quick that takes care of a pho craving and maybe have kids who want a simple meal to make, this is a fun dish for home.
Campbell’s also does you a favour and puts a recipe on the side for those who need the basics of the ingredients and assembly of this dish. I like to wing it and vary the quantities each time I make it – no two phos are the same. A plus to this packaged broth is that it’s pretty low sodium so you can amp up the salt if you need to. Another tip, don’t just squirt the Hoisin or Sriracha on without sampling the broth first, see how you like the flavour before adding the condiments.
So, here’s what you need for a fun, quick and tasty “home” pho (no 12 plus hours of simmering the marrow out of bones ~ don’t get me wrong, I’m determined to try making the both from scratch..some day, when I have 12 hours put together that I can devote to my kitchen).
1 – 900 ml box Campbell’s Pho Broth
1/2 pound of flank steak, cut thinly, crossgrain, seasoned with 1/2-1 tsp salt and lightly tossed in canola oil (maybe a 1 tbsp)
1 cup bean sprouts (love them, so I like to have lots)
1/2 pound dry rice noodles
1/2 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1 lime (cut in half)
2-3 tbsp cilantro and basil leaves, roughly chopped
1-2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
I’m a big rice noodle fan so I like a lot in my pho. Cook rice noodles according to package, rinse with cold water and place to the side. Toss seasoned flank steak with canola oil and over medium heat cook the steak 1-2 min each side and place to side while broth is heating up. I like my meat to be somewhat rare in the centre because the broth is so hot, it cooks the meat once the soup is put together. Heat broth over medium heat until it is simmering – check to see if you want to add salt, remembering the meat is salted and onions and herbs will add flavour. If you want to, add 1-2 tsp of fish sauce – season to taste.
Divide noodles between serving bowls (I get 4 good size servings per box of broth), add sprouts, both types of onion, cilantro and basil and steak pieces. Pour broth over the noodles and veggies and using one of the lime halves, squeeze a spritz of juice over each bowl. Cut the other lime half into wedges for garnish. Taste the broth. If you want a kick, add a squirt of Sriracha sauce, or for a sweeter, smokier flavour, Hoisin sauce. Serve immediately while broth is hot! With chopsticks and soup spoon in hand … enjoy!