The Secret to the Perfect Pressure Cooker Pho
In my search for pho spices, I found the star ingredient (no pun intended) difficult to find. Star anise, native to Southern China and North Vietnam, and common in Chinese Five Spice powder, is a beautiful seed pod found from an evergreen. It’s characteristic star shape gives it its name as well as a novel addition to a spice display. It is, however, quite difficult to find especially in smaller markets such as mine. We actually found it sold in bags among the Mexican spices. It is key, but if you cannot find it for whatever reason, you can substitute Chinese Five Spice for a mediocre result (sorry).
This is not the only key to a good homemade bowl of pho. The other key is to start off with baby steps, i.e., chicken pho. Lighter in flavor than the more popular beef version, chicken pho is easier to get right at home. It takes less time to prepare and fewer steps (no parboiling bones–yee!).
Alternatives to the Pressure Cooker
The key to the speediness of my pho is the pressure cooker, for which there is no substitute. However, if you don’t have a pressure cooker you might be wondering if you can still enjoy a bowl of homemade chicken pho of your own. Luckily if you find yourself in possession of a slow cooker, you can follow all of the same steps for the most part, except you will want to cook the pho for 8 hours on the low setting. Phew!
Because pho spices include clove, a key ingredient in the season’s pumpkin-spice craze, it pairs perfectly with your favorite pumpkin spice flavored beverage (including pumpkin beers), as well as most hard apple ciders and mulled wine. See how seasonal it is? Ahhh…
Short but sweet: In this post, we share an incredibly easy and flavorful Vietnamese Chicken Pho–perfect for my favorite season, fall! Please stay tuned, more recipes coming soon, including slow cooker beef gyros!