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Spring Pho

Spring Pho Recipe - Bursting with different shades of tender green things, this bowl is a welcome sight in spring, utilizing some of the season’s early arrivals. If you can’t find baby bok choy, use baby gem lettuces instead, which show up around the same time (mature bok choy would have an entirely different effect here); baby lettuces, however, don’t need to be precooked. Caramelizing the spring onions and scallions adds a rich flavor and texture component to the bowl, similar to a seasoned oil—sweet but deep and silky. Use additional scallions if you’re unable to get spring onions.

SERVES 4
Spring Pho Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Vegetarian Pho Broth or Shortcut Pho Broth
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 bunch spring onions (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 5 ounces)
  • 5 plump garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4 bunches baby bok choy (8 to 10 ounces total), quartered lengthwise through the root
  • 1 cup peas, either young ones with edible pods or shelled mature ones
  • 8 ounces medium-width rice noodles
  • 1 small green chili (serrano, Thai chili, or jalapeño), sliced into very thin rings
  • 2 cups loosely packed mixed fresh herbs, such as chervil, parsley, mint, cilantro, basil, and/or chives, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

How to make Spring Pho

  1. Place the pho broth in a pot and heat to a simmer. Stir in the sugar and salt and taste, adjusting the seasonings as necessary. Keep covered, off the heat, then bring back to a bare simmer just before serving.
  2. Trim the root ends off the spring onions and scallions. Thinly slice both the white and green parts. Slice the garlic into thin slabs.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the spring onions, scallions, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat if the onions begin to burn, or raise it if they seem to be cooking too slowly. Pour in the vinegar and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Remove from the heat.
  4. Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the bok choy and cook until the thickest parts of the stem are tender and can be easily pierced with a paring knife, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a spider skimmer, reserving the cooking water. Add the peas to the water and blanch for 30 seconds, just until the raw bite is gone. Transfer to a plate with a spider skimmer, again reserving the cooking water.
  5. Add the noodles to the boiling water, in a strainer basket or the strainer insert that comes with your stockpot if you have one, and cook until tender, usually 4 to 7 minutes or according to the package instructions. Lift out the noodles, reserving the cooking water, and thoroughly rinse the noodles under cold running water in order to remove excess starch. Quickly dunk them back into the hot water to reheat. Divide among four bowls.
  6. Top the noodles in each bowl with the bok choy, peas, caramelized onion mixture, and chilies. Ladle the hot broth over each serving. Serve immediately, passing the herbs and lime wedges at the table.