Paul and I really miss Vietnamese food. There is an area of London that is noted for Vietnamese restaurants, but somehow we are never in Shoreditch at dinner time. So I realised that if I wanted pho I was going to have to make it myself.
This isn't a proper pho. It doesn't contain noodles or the table salad of herbs and it's made with duck and chicken stock. It's a faux pho. A faux pho duck. A phuck? But it had the fresh crunchy vegetables, the fragrant broth and the spike of citrus and chilli, so it was a pretty fair substitute.
I blanched a bag of bean shoots and divided them between the bowls, with slices of chilli, the leaves of baby bok choy and wedges of lime. I pulled a tub of home-made chicken stock out of the freezer, simmered it with star anise and cinnamon, and corrected the seasoning with a little sugar and fish sauce, then I added the fleshy stems from the bok choy and some baby corn spears and cooked them for another couple of minutes. I rubbed the skin of a couple of duck breasts with Chinese Five Spice powder and cooked it in a hot pan until crisp on the outside and medium rare in the middle. Then I poured the hot broth over the raw vegetables and topped it with the sliced rested duck breasts. Not a proper pho, but a very good meal.