A few months back I shared my recipe for one of my absolute favourite foods: Vietnamese chicken pho. Today I want to share with you a new spin I created on this scrumptious soup. It came together during one of my super pho cravings when all I had were bits and pieces of lamb meat and bones. Not having chicken was not going to stop me from satisfying the craving…a thunderstorm, however, was doing it’s best to prevent me from running to the store for chicken. Luckily I had the lamb and all of the other ingredients required to make a big pot of pho — et viola, this soup was born.
The results did not disappoint. If you like the taste of lamb you will really love this version of pho, if you’re not a fan you should still give it a try. The broth is deeper in flavour than when chicken is used, it’s more like beef versions. Though lamb can have quite a strong taste and scent, the aromatic spices and herbs help calm that a bit. You will taste a light lamb taste, with hints of lime, spicy bits of chile, and fresh minty and cilantro flavours. It’s truly just as wonderful as regular chicken or beef pho. I hope you give it a try.
- 500 gms or 1 lb. of lamb stewing bones with bits of meat*
- water for boiling
- 1 medium onion, cut in half but not peeled
- 1 large piece of ginger, un-peled
- 1.5 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 3 whole green cardamom, bruised
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 6 whole cloves
- vermicelli rice noodles
- fresh cilantro
- fresh mint
- sliced green onions/scallions
- lime wedges
- slice chili peppers and/or hot sauce
- bean sprouts
- Place lamb bones in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Use a colander to drain the bones and discard the broth. Set the lamb pieces aside. Rinse/wash the pot out or have a new clean pot ready to use. Next rinse off the lamb pieces then place back inside the pot.
- The ginger and onion need to be charred. Place them both over an open flame/gas stove flame, or on top of a very hot griddle, or they can also be charred under the broiler setting in the oven. Turn the onion and ginger to char evenly throughout. (I used an open flame and it took me about 8 minutes.) Set aside to cool down.
- In a clean pan dry roast the spices to bring out the scents and flavors. Roast for 2 minutes stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- Peel the onions, and using a knife gently scrape away the charred ginger skin. Cut the ginger into 4 chunks and use the flat edge of the knife to bruise the ginger.
- Place the ginger, onions, cooled spices into the pot with the lamb pieces. (Alternatively the spices may be placed inside a spice bag before putting in pot.) Add 2 liters or about 8 cups of water to the pot. Then add the 1 tsp granulated sugar and 2 tbsp. fish sauce. Cover and bring to a boil, once boiling reduce heat down to medium low and leave a small crack to allow steam to escape. Simmer the soup for at least an hour, longer if time allowed. I simmer my pho for about 2-3 hours. The longer the better.
- Once the soup has finished simmering, strain and discard the spices — NOT THE BROTH. Gently pull away any lamb meat from the bones. Add some cooked rice noodles to the soup bowls then ladle the broth over the noodles and add any bits of lamb meat to the bowls too. You can either serve the additional garnishes on the side so everyone can add their own or top the soup with them.
Have a great day!!