Above is a picture of a really good-looking bowl of beef pho. Try as we may have, we couldn’t make ours work. Junwei has created, what I’m sure is, a really tasty and authentic recipe. I (J.) just happen to have made too many substitutions that probably led to our soup’s downfall.
What we did (wrong):
We used a beef stock from a box, not a homemade broth.
I (J. again) put in a big-ol’ whole stick of cinnamon. For the quantity we made, that was about 250% overkill.
We couldn’t find fish sauce at any of our regular retail food haunts. I’m sure that was a really big no-no.
This one could have been totally avoided: I (yes, J.) have this aversion to raw beef. I pan fried it (ala, Philly cheesesteak). Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of ultra-thin cut beef for some tasty steak sandwiches. Unfortunately, it probably cost us major in the tastiness department.
In retrospect, I would not do pretty much everything that we did. Rather, I would do everything that Junwei prescribes.
I’d still really like some pho. Not happening tonight, though.