I’ve had pho only a half dozen times — I haven’t read anything about the broth yet either. The only thing I know about pho comes from my limited exposure in Harrisburg, PA (and once in Chinatown in NYC) and Bourdain’s trip to Vietnam. This is my attempt at winging it.
A broth is absolutely necessary but I understand that it wasn’t a stock in the French sense of the word — no mirepoix maybe no caramelization either.
I bought some short ribs, boiled them without anything and refridgerated the liquid overnight. strained the liquid and boiled again. This time I threw in a whole dried ancho pepper. I also boiled some raw shrimp. Maybe this step is extraneous but I added the shrimp broth to the liquid as well. Then I seasoned my broth. So far so good.
I worked with rice vermicelli before — I know it takes a little while to cook even in boiling water and I don’t like to cook it in direct heat. So, I soaked it in warm water as I was getting the rest of my ingredients ready.
I picked my mint and basil; peeled and deveined my Ecuadorean shrimp; and chopped my lime and grabbed my Sriracha; lats but not least, I sliced my beef and seasoned it very lightly.
The vermicelli was soft at this point but certainly not ready to eat. I picked it out, strained it and put it in my serving bowl. I poured my broth on top. I made a little mountain with the rice noodles in the middle. I cracked an egg, separated the yolk and put it on top of the mountain.
The rest is just assembly — garnish to taste. Yummy!