For the broth: Emu neck or leg bones 1 large onion, peeled and quartered 15 shallots, peeled 3-4 gingerroots in one-piece, washed, unpeeled 1 pack of phở seasoning (Gia Vị Nấu Phở Bắc). See note 5 star anises (extra for more flavorful and aroma) Salt to season Sugar to season (I use rock sugar but regular sugar is fine) Fish sauce Emu fan filet for “tái” as meat Rice noodles (buy the fresh pack, usually in the cooler section. It’s better than the dried pack)
Accompaniments/garnish: Beans sprouts (you can homegrown these if you’d like. Takes about 4-5 days. Let me know if you want to know how to grow them. ) Thai basil and culantro (saw-leaf like herb) if in season Cilantro, chopped Green onions, chopped 1 small onion, peeled and paper-thinly sliced. I use an Asian peeler to slice it to get it paper-thin. You probably don’t have one, so just try to slice it as thin as you can 1-2 limes, cut into wedges Black pepper Jalapeno peppers Sriracha sauce Hoisin sauce
Note: I used to use this pack to cook my phở. It has all the spices you need to make a pot of phở. It comes with a fabric pouch to hold all the spices. Clean your emu bones. You can follow the way Nicole Routhier showed in her recipe.
The key to making good pho is to have a clear broth. So clean your emu neck bones really well. Pre-cook them as a cleaning process just like the way Nicole had in her recipe. Drain and rinse them well.
In a large stock pot (16 quart size), add water to about ½ – 2/3 of the pot, allowing enough room to add your pre-cooked emu bones in later without overflowing. It depends on how much bones you use. The more bones, the better your broth will be.
Cook the water to boiling, then add your pre-cooked, clean emu bones. Bring to a boil. When you start seeing foam and impurities float to the top, skim it. Your goal is to skim that stuff to keep your broth clear, and never let your soup over boil. It will make the broth cloudy. Just follow this step in Nicole’s recipe to keep the broth clear. Add more water if needed as the liquid evaporates when boil. Keep the heat low and simmer. Cook and simmer the bones for at least 8 hours or more.
Phở takes a whole day to cook, but that’s what makes it good. The longer you simmer the bones, the better is your broth. You want to get all that good juice out of the bones for flavor.
Meanwhile, wrap the gingerroots in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Seal it tight. Do the same for the shallots. Char them on your grill or you can turn on your oven and broil them in the oven until they release the fragrant. I usually do them in my oven at 375F for 45 minutes for gingerroots and 20 minutes for the shallots. Put them in the oven at the same time, just take the shallots out early.
For the star anise, you can toast it quickly in a skillet for a couple minutes until they kind of turn black and release their fragrant. When the ginger is done, slice them in ¼ inch thick slices and add them, the shallots, and star anise to the stock pot. Continue to simmer, skim as needed. Season with salt and sugar to taste. I usually add some fish sauce in addition to the salt to season the broth, but if you don’t have it, salt and sugar are fine.
1 ½ hours – 2 hours left (of the 8 hours) to finish cooking of the broth, add the spice pouch and onion quarters to the stock pot and continue to simmer. Then remove the pouch after 1 ½ – 2 hours, so the spices do not become overwhelming, making the broth a bit bitter taste. Taste the broth again and see if it needs more seasoning of salt, fish sauce, and sugar.
Ok, this part is all up to your taste. I can’t tell you how much salt and sugar because I did all by estimation and tasting to my taste bud. But here is what I normally do that yields a bowl of phở that is on point. When you season, if you think the broth tastes just right, it will be a bit bland after you add the noodles. If you think it tastes just slightly salty, it will be perfect to taste when you add the noodles. I learn this from experience and from making it so many times.
When the broth is ready, remove and discard all of the bones and strain the broth using a strainer. You may want to also line the strainer with a cheesecloth because emu neck releases much more residue. This way, you will have a clearer and cleaner broth. It is harder to write a recipe down on paper than to hands-on showing it. Alrighty! Enjoy and happy phở cooking : )