Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


David's and my newest food obsession is Shabu-Shabu.  Our first encounter happened when we stumbled upon a restaurant in Plano called Mister Shabu-Shabu.  It piqued our interest enough to where we tried it at home and now we've perfected our own version of this fun and fabulous new find of ours.

Shabu-Shabu (also spelled shyabu-shyabu) is a Japanese dish featuring thinly sliced beef traditionally boiled in water or dashi (which is a type of broth), both made with konbu or kelp.  However, we use beef broth because we haven't had much luck with the customary bonita flakes and kelp method to start the broth, ours didn't turn out flavorful enough.

This delicious dish was originally made with thinly sliced beef, but some versions use pork, crab, chicken, lamb, duck or lobster.  Typically, rib-eye steak is used and is what we prefer.  Shabu-Shabu is served with a variety of vegetables including Napa (or Chinese) cabbage, onions, carrots, an assortment of exotic mushrooms and tofu...of course you can add any vegetables that you like.  In addition to all the wonderful veggies it is served with noodles.  I like udon noodles because they hold up better, but you could use rice noodles or any kind of noodle you want.

The dish is prepared by submerging a thin slice of meat or vegetable in a pot of boiling dashi or broth.  We use an individual burner so that we can control the temperature just perfectly and also so that we can serve it as is customarily done, which is in the middle of our table, kind of like fondu.  Just be super careful, the broth can get very hot.  The meat and vegetables are dipped in a ponzu sauce and/or a sesame seed sauce before eating (recipes to follow).  Once the meat and veggies have been eaten, the leftover broth from the pot is combined with any leftover noodles and the last of the broth is eaten and it is beyond description how wonderful the broth is after having been flavored even more by the meat and vegetables.  

I think most any foodie would love this one pot meal, although a little labor intensive, it's worth all of the work.  Happy Cooking my friends!

For the Broth:
12 cups beef broth
4 cups water
1 onion, quartered
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
2" of ginger, skinned and sliced thin
12 whole peppercorns
8 whole cloves
any bones or fat leftover from the sliced rib-eye
3 beef bouillon cubes

For the Beef Broth:
In a large saucepan set over high heat, combine the broth and all of the broth ingredients except the bouillon cubes.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low to let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids.  Return the pan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Skim the fat off the top of the broth.  Add bouillon cubes.  Turn heat to low.

For the Meat:
Vegetable and Noodle Plates:
1 head of Napa cabbage with stalk and ribs removed and leaves separated
1/2 cups enoki mushrooms, trimmed
1 - 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, stemmed
1 small vidallia onion or yellow onion, sliced thin and cut in half
2 bunches green onion, sliced in 1" slices cut on the diagonal
2 carrots, sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic sliced thin
1 jalapeno, sliced thin and seeds removed
1 - 14 oz package firm tofu, cut into bite-sized squares
3 - 8 oz udon noodles, prepared as directed on the package

Arrange the meat on a large platter, the vegetables and tofu on a second large platter and the cooked udon noodles in a large bowl.

Set a portable stove in the middle of the dining table and place a Dutch oven over the burner.  Pour some of the strained broth into the Dutch oven and bring to a very slow simmer (don't let it boil).

As the broth warms, bring the meat, vegetables and noodles to the table along with 6 soup bowls.  When the broth reaches a light simmer, let your diners add some broth to their soup bowls and then begin cooking: working in batches, add the vegetables and cook until tender, a few minutes.  Add 1 slice of meat with chopsticks and cook for a few seconds, until just cooked.  Dip the cooked meat and vegetables in a Ponzu sauce and a sesame dipping sauce (recipes to follow).  Repeat with remaining meat and vegetables.

When everything has been cooked up, add the udon noodles to the broth and stir until warmed through.  Divide the noodles and remaining broth between the 6 soup bowls.

Ponzu Sauce:
1/4 cup lime juice
1 TBSP rice vinegar
1/3 cup beef broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp hot chili sauce
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
pepper to taste
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1" ginger thinly grated

Mix all ingredients well.

Miso-Tahini Sauce and Chile Oil:
1/4 cup water
3 TBSP mirin
3 TBSP tahini
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 - 1/2 tsp red miso
1 - 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP sake, optional
1 tsp sesame oil
roasted sesame seeds for topping

Mix all ingredients well.  Top with sesame seeds for a garnish. 

*Serve with Sriracha to spice up to your liking.

This recipe is adapted from

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stir-Fried Shrimp With Udon Noodles

Happy New Year to all of my fellow foodies!  I've taken another break from blogging after a very action-packed couple of months with family and friends...We are beyond blessed.  I'm ready to get adventurous again when it comes to food and I'm more than ready to share all of my newest finds.  I've got so many great recipes teed up, so lets get cooking.

It seems there's a bit of a noodle craze going on.  With the likes of ramen, Soba, Udon and rice noodles showing up in the hippest of restaurants.  Although we've been cooking with rice noodles in our signature dish, Pho for many years, I've been particularly intrigued with Udon noodles lately, mostly because they're a healthy alternative to regular pasta, as are they all. 

The definition of Udon is it's a type of thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine. Udon is often served hot in a noodle soup in its simplest form, as kake Udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru, which is made of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.  I'm going to have to google that recipe and try it out.

The original recipe I found for this Udon variation, in addition to the shrimp, it called for 1/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced and sauteed in oil.  I left the chicken out and increased the amount of shrimp.  It also called for 2 1/2 cups of chopped Napa cabbage, which I also opted not to add and added snap peas instead.  You can add any combination of veggies that you like...or leave out the chicken and shrimp all together and make it a vegetarian dish.  The possibilities are endless.

My family loved this dish, not only because of all the wonderful flavors going on, but especially because we're all trying to eat healthier.  We'll be making this dish again soon, but will change it up a bit, maybe by adding some oyster and fish sauce to the mix.  And of course, top with Sriracha hot chili sauce to make it as spicy as you like.  Happy Cooking my friends!

2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1 cup or so of snap peas
1 small onion thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp grated ginger
1 - 2 carrots thinly sliced
7 oz enoki mushrooms
4 oz oyster mushrooms
1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
zest and juice of 1 lime
18 oz Udon noodles
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds or chopped roasted peanuts
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped scallions, for garnish 
chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a skillet, heat 1 TBSP of the vegetable oil.  Add the shrimp and stir-fry over moderately high heat until curled, 2 minutes; transfer to a plate. 

Add the remaining 1 TBSP of oil to the skillet.  Add the snap peas, onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and the mushrooms and stir-fry for 4 minutes.  Add the stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and zest and shrimp; remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook the Udon according to package directions.  Drain and add to the skillet.
Stir-fry over medium high heat until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper, garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I saw on Food and Wine Magazine's website.