On Saturday, my sister, brother-in-law, and friend decided to make phở at my apartment. I made a quick run to H-Mart, our trusty Korean supermarket, and grabbed all the ingredients we would need for a phở-tastic meal. We decided to follow this recipe, 30- minute Pressure Cooker Pho Ga. Luckily, I had half of the ingredients already. I had to get the meat (brisket and chicken), cilantro (my cilantro plant flowered and is in the process of powering down), spices (fennel, coriander, cinnamon sticks), and bean sprouts. I also got ingredients to make gỏi cuốn, or Vietnamese spring rolls, which I’m addicted to. Seriously, I can eat five of these in one sitting.
We watched a few YouTube videos on using the Instant Pot to make phở. It didn’t seem that hard. Basically, the first step is to saute the aromatics, add the chicken, water, fish sauce, and sugar, and close the pot. Let it cook for half an hour, and then release the pressure. In the meantime, we cooked the rice noodles. We added the brisket to briefly cook in the InstaPot, as we prepared our dishes with rice noodles, bean sprouts, and cilantro. Then we ladled the soup into the bowls, along with some meat. You can add extras, like lime, hot peppers, Sriracha sauce, and other herbs like basil and mint.
That’s it! It was easier than we originally thought. The Instant Pot makes it so much easier to cook. Many thanks to my sis for doing the heavy lifting!
While she was doing that, I made my spring rolls using this recipe from AllRecipes.com. I love the recipes from this site because it’s down to earth and not fancy smancy like those other foodie websites. They’re created by normal, everyday people, and not by professional chefs. The directions are usually straight forward and simple, and don’t call for a hundred ingredients for an “easy” dish. Admittedly, some recipes are hit or miss, but for the most part, I’ve been quite successful at recipes I’ve tried.
First, I cooked the rice noodles, making sure I didn’t overcook them. Then, I briefly boiled the shelled shrimp, took them out, let them cooled, and then sliced them in half. I filled a plate with warm water, soaked the rice paper until it was soft, and then laid it on a plate. I added three half shrimp to the middle bottom of the rice paper, then put a forkful of noodles on top of the shrimp. Then I put half a lettuce on the noodles, along with some bean sprouts, cilantro (without the stem), mint, and basil.
The trickiest part is wrapping. You fold the right and left side, making sure you don’t create a hole in the rice paper (it’s very delicate!). Then you start rolling from the bottom of the rice paper, ensuring the ingredients don’t come out, and you roll until you reach the top. It takes a lot of practice, as my sister says. By the third one, I got better but it still wasn’t perfect. For the sauce, I mixed hosin sauce and a spoonful of almond butter (traditionally it’s peanut based sauce, but I didn’t have peanut butter).
Everything turned out absolutely delicious. I enjoyed the phở, and I can’t wait to try it with other types of meat. Although my spring rolls were ugly, they were delicious too. I would recommend giving these recipes a try if you like Vietnamese food!
Note: I did not receive compensation for any of these products mentioned in this post. These are my opinions alone.