Vietnamese Pho (Phở) or Vietnamese noodle is very popular to everybody, especially for foreigners. Anytime we talk about Vietnamese cuisine, I bet Pho is always the first topic. In other words, Vietnamese people are so proud of Pho as the spirit of Vietnamese people. To most of foreigners, Pho is a kind of noodle with soup, which can be made from beef or chicken. However, if you know Vietnamese cuisine better, you will recognize that we eat Pho in many ways such as: stir-fried Pho (Phở xào), deep-fried Pho (Phở chiên phồng) and of course rolling Pho (Phở cuốn), which I would like to introduce how to make in this entry.
In Vietnam, they use Pho (without cutting into trips) to roll with beef, lettuce, and a lot of spice veggies, so that’s why we call Pho cuon (Rolling Pho). Pho cuon (Rolling pho) is dipped into a very light sauce with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic and chili. This dish can be served as an appetizer or even a main dish. Pho cuon (Rolling pho) is a perfect combination between Vietnamese Pho noodle and spring roll (Nem or chả giò).
When I used to stay in Bangkok, it’s not difficult for someone to travel within a day to bring us Pho in the form of whole pieces to make Pho cuon (Rolling pho). But now in Singapore, it’s not so easy, and therefore, I tested out to use the rice paper that we usually use to make Spring roll to make Pho cuon. It’s just a bit tricky, but the result turned out to be awesome. I’m so excited to share with you guys how to make Pho cuon (Rolling pho) in a simple way, but it tastes yummy and like what we had in Vietnam. Let’s get started!
1. Ingredients: For two people who eat Pho cuon (Rolling pho) for main dish ;)
- 500 grams (1lb) stir-fry beef (or you can use any part you’d like but remember to slide it thin)
- 1 package lettuce (green lettuce or iceberg lettuce is my favorite)
- 1 package cilantro (or in Singapore they call Parsley)
- 1 or 2 Carrots
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper (or you can put more if you like)
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 package of rice paper (medium size)
- Dipping sauce: This formula is kind of a bit too much for two people but I use to make this much and put in the jar and keep in the fridge for a few weeks. You can cut it into half or 1/3 to fit to your demand^^.
- ¾ cup fish sauce (177.44 ml)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (115 grams)
- ½ cup rice vinegar (118 ml)
- 2 liter water
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced chili (or to taste)
- Marinate beef with salt, pepper, minced garlic (1 tablespoon) and about 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil (this amount of cooking oil will help the stir-fried beef more tender), and of course five spice powder, which is the most important ingredients because all about Pho is the smell of five spice powder. Keep the beef in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
- Clean the lettuce and cilantro and set them aside
- Next, use the pan and put 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil with the heat of Med-hi. Put the rest of minced garlic and stir-fry in about 30 seconds or until golden brown. Put all the marinated beef into the pan and stir it in about 1 minute. Don’t overcook the beef. Taste again with salt and pepper if needed. Set it aside for a few minutes to cook it down.
- How to roll Pho:
- Soak the rice paper in the warm water (Please note that you should soak each one at a time) for a few seconds and put in a plate. After a few more seconds, the rice paper is going to be softened. If you use the small size rice paper, then you need to put two at time. If you use the medium size one, you can use one at a time because Pho is actually thicker than the rice paper.
- Put one small piece of lettuce, a little bit of cilantro and 3-4 pieces of beef then roll tightly like in the below photo. Done! Don’t roll too much lettuce or beef, just make like a small one, and then you would feel it like Pho when you eat.
- How to make dipping sauce: I bet this is a good way for someone who doesn’t like fish sauce so much because I cook the dipping sauce so the smell of fish sauce is not too salty and smelly.
- Slide carrots thinly and put 1 teaspoon salt. Leave it aside for about 20 minutes. After that, rinse carrots and put in a bow.
- In a small pot, put water, fish sauce, granulated sugar, and bring it to boil. Then turn off the heat, and put vinegar, minced garlic and minced chili. Taste the sauce again. It should be somewhere salty but a little bit sour and also sweet.
- Finally put the carrots into the dipping sauce.
Your Pho cuon (Rolling pho) is ready to serve. When you have Pho cuon, you will see the taste of Pho in a different form. We usually make it for a small party for weekend. My friends all love it and I think it’s a smart way to eat Pho, especially for the country which has hot weather for all year long like Singapore.
Good luck and have fun!