Sometimes life conspires against you so that you only want what you can’t have. In Northern Canada, where turkey leftovers abound, good Asian food is hard to find.
My hometown actually has a half-decent sized Vietnamese community, and there are 2 noodle houses in town, but they serve their pho without lime and well, I never looked back after that – I saw no reason.
So when the cold nights and dark days led to me craving serious spicy broth resuscitation, I had nowhere to go. When my brother suggested we try and make our recently completed turkey broth into something pho-tastic, I have to admit I was sceptical.
After all, true pho broth takes time! intention! marrow bones! We had none. All we had was turkey stock we’d made the old-fashioned way: gently simmered with aromatics (celery, onion, carrots, peppercorns, bay leaves, parsley). But then again, I’d attempted to make pho broth from scratch before and the results were disastrous. I literally couldn’t do worse. There must be a better way.
Little by little a plan formed in my mind. First, I charred lemongrass and ginger slices (a classic pho technique) and added it to the broth with star anise and chopped coriander stems. I seasoned with fish sauce instead of salt, and I waited about an hour.
The results were amazing – fragrant and completely decent. Not traditional by any means – but better than the broth I’ve had in London’s worst Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road. 15 mins before serving I added large slices of white onion. We filled bowls with cooked rice noodles, chopped coriander, mint and basil, cooked prawns, beansprouts and served with hoisin and sri racha hot sauce on the side. It was amazing!
My brother and I have agreed this to be a new tradition for New Year’s day – fake pho made from turkey broth! Instructions above, recipe to follow.
2 day Faux Pho:
2 litres of turkey stock, made a day in advance.
4 thick slices of ginger, charred in a dry pan
2 stalks lemon grass, charred in a dry pan
3 star anise
1 yellow onion finely sliced