RATIOS !! [Moderator note: Recipe scaling]
Hey everyone, my name is John Paul and I am new the forum community. I just finished up fifty days in Ho Chi Minh City, and I gotta tell you -- some of the best days of my life spent in this beautiful place. Not to mention, I got to eat some of the best pho I'v ever had in my life.
While I was in hcmc, I decided to taking some cooking classes. I've always wanted to learn how to prepare pho, but the biggest issue I've had is getting the right ratios. I'm creating this topic here to get some advice from everyone about how they go about their ratios.
My issue is getting the exact water to ingredients ratio, so you don't end up with pho that is too watery. I think I might end up having an assortment of questions, so if you guys don't mind sharing some of your inside knowledge, it would be much appreciated.
What are y'alls water to ingredients ratio?
for example, if you have 4 quarts of water -- first, what amount of bones will you use to create the bone broth? what type of bones will you use to create the bone broth? how long do you parboil your bones to make sure all impurities are removed? In my class, my instructor said the pork bones and even chicken heads/necks can be used to create the bone broth.
what is your rule of thumb for water to ginger/shallots ratio? if you roast in an oven, how long do you roast for and at what temperature?
I definitely feel like this is one of the most important ratios. First off, what types of meats do you use to create the broth and add the beef flavor? how long do you cook these meats for, to make sure maximum amount of flavor is absorbed without the meat being over cooked? As a rule of thumb, what is your lbs of meat to gallon of water ratio?
Recently, I believe I over cooked my brisket because I didn't remove from the water soon enough. Generally, I will receive sliced brisket in my pho but I cooked mine so long it fell apart (stringy like) - -along with my eye of round too. Don't get me wrong, it tasted fantastic but was just prepared a little differently.
this one is a bit annoying for me! First of all, I was racking my brain about how much of each spice (cardamom, fennel seed, coriander seed, cinnamon, clove, star of anise) is needed per specific part water. At the local asian market, I found a product which includes all of the spices and a teabag to put them in. I figured this could be a good way to get a better understanding of this ratio. Since the instructions on the bag was in Vietnamese, I sent it to my girlfriend in hcmc and she translated it for me. Unfortunately, it didn't say anything about the amount of water.. which leads me to believe, perhaps the amount of water isn't so significant here. What it did mention was to put the spices in towards the end, but not too leave the spices in too long or you can ruin the flavor of the broth because it will be to aromatic. : / !!
What exactly is too long?! I definitely roast my spices first (just so there is no confusion). I feel like the clove is the most strong of all the spices, and I should probably cut that one down a little bit. Do y'all have any ratios for water/spice? When do you add your spices and how long do you let them stay in the broth? I measured out the package of spices, and this is the amount of spices (in grams) that were included. star of anise 9g, cinnamon 4g, cardamom 3g, clove 3g, coriander/fennel 24g.
I think this pretty much wraps up my thoughts. I will be making a new batch again this upcoming weekend and would love to try some of y'alls recommendations. Please feel free to note any other tips or advice that you use when making your pho.
YIKES! I almost forgot to ask...
Fish sauce is definitely an ingredient necessary in Pho. From what I've read, it greatly affects the flavor of pho -- making it necessary for a perfect broth. but how much? i've working on finding the taste but I haven't mastered it yet. Do you guys have a rule of thumb for fish sauce?
@phojpv : What you're describing is a recipe. A recipe, for both new cooks and seasoned chefs alike, is what is needed to properly create a dish correctly and consistently. It shows a list of ingredients, the needed quantities of each ingredient, and methods and procedures (prep, cook times, sequence of steps, etc.) to prepare and cook the ingredients to create the proper yield, quality and quantity of the final dish. Good recipe also includes final plating to serve as well.
You didn't mention what cooking class you took while in Saigon, and whether it included pho making. If it did include pho making then the class should have discussed a pho recipe as part of the class as a matter of course. If the class didn't include pho making, then you can find various different recipes for pho online and start from there. I also make available a recipe for beef pho in the form of an infographic and you can check it out following this link /pho-chefs-recipes/beef-pho-recipe-infographic/
Having a recipe will help you answer a lot of questions you listed.
You may also want to peruse the main lovingpho.com site and these forums as well for discussions on proper way to make pho broths. Just search for terms like "pho broth" or "making pho broth", etc. Here are a few:
Best of luck.