Yesterday I was feeling a bit sick, so I decided to make Pho soup again. I made it a little differently this time as the soup at the restaurant is quite different than what I made last time. It really turned out well this time, so here is an exact recipe for what I did:
10 cups water
2 large carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
1 stem lemon grass, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, broken into fourths
1 onion, cut in fourths, with the skin on
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 inches fresh ginger, cut into large matchstick pieces
1 star anise
3 whole cloves
15 whole peppercorns
1 bunch cilantro
1 1-inch piece of rock sugar
I put all of this into a pot and simmered it for a little over an hour. I strained out the vegetables, then I added vegetable bouillon that I got at the oriental market; it is nice because it had powdered mushroom in it. I did that to taste, then added 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
Serve over cooked rice noodles and put a plate with cilantro, bean sprouts, mint leaves, basil leaves, and lime wedges on the table for people to garnish their soup with as they please.
By the time the vegetables had cooked and I removed them, the pot had lost about 2 cups of liquid. It made a lot of soup, but there are 5 people in our family. We ate the entire pot! The cilantro had not been added to the pot when I took that picture, but it really made a nice tasting addition to the broth. I saw it on a couple of different places and thought I would give it a try. I think if you do not like cilantro, just leave it out and it should still be really nice. I leave the onion skins on because it adds a nice color to the broth. I had several people tell me to do that when I was learning about making soup.