In the walk of a cook who fancies herself a genius, there is no pain more excruciating than to realize when someone else has out-genius her. If you were one of “her” (not saying that I am)(I mean genius? Who? Me?), careful, because this is gonna hurt.
Okay, fine, go have a super successful and ever-expanding sandwich shop all over New York City as if that was a dream of mine or whaaaatever. Dream-stealer…. And then sure, why not, go publish a refreshingly hilarious and strivingly honest cookbook that touches subjects beyond the otherwise self-absorbing stand-alone topic of foods, as if that was my personal
2014 2015 2016 resolution that is wilting faster than baby spinach in a hot skillet. Face-rubber…. But I don’t care, see, don’t care! But above all of his dream-stealing and face-rubbing behavior, which I have generously forgiven and let go, none has made me scream more in agony when I saw this recipe on page 168…
I’ll spare you the whole pretense of “I couldn’t imagine what it would taste like until I put a spoon in my mouth…blah blah blah blah blah”. Truth was, the minute I read through the recipe, I knew it would work. The combination of flavors and seasoning just made sense, guaranteeing, even just on paper, a creamy concoction that would embody all the magical essence of a bowl of pho. Pho, in mayo form. This realization sent my body into a self-strangling twist on my stone-cold kitchen floor, thinking, no, bleeding from the eternal question that haunts all mankind – Why, why wasn’t I the one who come up with this?
But I wasn’t. So that’s that. And by the way, this fabulous creation of what I call Summer Pho Bo Roll, is not in his book. Yeah, I took his pho mayo… used it to generously coat a truck-load of thinly sliced beef short ribs, bean sprouts and finely chopped Thai basil, then stuffed them into a hoisin sauce -smeared potato roll, topped with chopped onions and a revengeful squeeze of Sriracha sauce. It’s like eating a bowl of pho bo (by the way, the word “pho” on its own just means “rice noodle”. Pho bo (bo means beef) is what you are actually referring to), but no cooking! And it’s summer-friendly!
Dat’s right, Tyler, I stole your pho mayo. Now you know what it’s like to be hurt.
I’M REALLY MORE LIKE ACHILLES IN THAT… I CAN MAKE MAYONNAISE BEND TO MY WILL USING ONLY MY MIND BECAUSE ACHILLES COULD DO THAT. HOMER DOESN’T REALLY GET INTO IT THOUGH.
– TYLER KORD
I made my pho mayo more robust than the original, with a higher ratio of spices to mayonnaise. I did this because I found the original version, while tasting great on its own, getting lost a little in a sandwich form.
- 1/4 medium onion, peeled
- 1 1/2" (25 grams) ginger, peeled
- 1/2 tsp Thai shrimp paste
- 1 large star anise
- 5 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 3/4 cup (180 grams) mayonnaise
- 14 oz (400 grams) thinly sliced beef short ribs
- 3 large handful of bean sprouts
- 1 large handful of Thai basil, finely chopped
- 1 large handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
- finely chopped onion
- 4 potato rolls
- hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce to serve
- lime for squeezing
- MAKE PHO MAYO: Cut onion and ginger into thick slices. Over the stove or with a torch (my choice), char the entire surfaces of the vegetables as evenly and thoroughly as you can. Smear the shrimp paste roughly over a plate or skillet, and torch or toast over the stove until darkened as well. Combine star anise, whole cloves, fennel seeds, and ground cinnamon in a small skillet and toast over medium heat until they start to pop and smell fragrant. Transfer all of the above into a blender, along with fish sauce and mayonnaise, and blend until smoothly pureed. Transfer into an air-tight container and keep in the fridge until needed (cold mayo is also thicker and better to use). Can be made days before hand.
- MAKE PHO BO ROLL: Season the thinly sliced beef short ribs with a little of fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper, then lay them flat. Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat until very hot, then with a tongs, cook each slices laid flat over the skillet, ON ONE SIDE ONLY, until the cooked side is slightly caramelized but the top side still has pinkish blotches. Transfer the finished slices onto a plate as you go, and repeat with the rest. Once completely cooled, drain off any liquid and mix with enough pho mayo, chopped basil and mint until generously coated.
- If you were like me who is not a fan of raw bean sprouts, microwave the bean sprouts on high for 30 seconds, then shock in iced water. Squeeze out all excess water, then toss with pho mayo to coat. For the potato rolls, brush both sides with melted butter then toast on a skillet until the edges are crispy.
- TO ASEMBLE: Slice the potato rolls open and smear a layer of hoisin sauce on the bottom, then a layer of bean sprouts, then some sprinkle of chopped onion, then top with lots of pho mayo-coated beef slices. Season with freshly ground black pepper and a good squeeze of Sriracha sauce.
The sliced beef short ribs (or other parts of beef) can be found in all major Asian markets for the purpose of hot pots. In this application, aim for a thicker slice for better texture.