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Jan 25, 2010 12:29 PM

vietnamese scallion oil?

at the pho place we always go to in philly, we get a side of this stuff that's listed as "fatty scallion head broth." it's a small bowl of warm yellow oil (or maybe beef drippings -- sometimes it's got brown stuff in it) that has long sections of cooked scallion.

we've tried spooning it into our pho and it's delicious. i've been trying to figure out what this stuff is and if it's meant to go in pho. does anyone know?

the references i can find are to mo hanh and to Hanh La Phi, both of which seem to call for finely chopped scallions lubricated with oil (in the first case) or flavoring it. but the stuff we're adding to our pho is straight up thick, trimmed cooked scallions swimming in a bowl of oil or melted fat. any ideas?

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  1. hey, i just figured this out with some additional googling!

    the fatty scallion oil is called Nuoc Beo, and it's the oil that collects on the surface of the big pho pot while it's cooking. so good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ramonasaur

      In the pho kingdom, that stuff is known as "nectar of the gods"!

      Happy slurping.

    2. It sounds like you've found true love.
      Here's one easy way to always be sure to have some on-hand (It keeps well in the refrigerator, if you make enough per batch).
      Any time you're cooking some beef stove top, first trim to the dimensions you prefer some bunches of scallions.
      Begin by heating the pan.
      Once thoroughly heated, add copious oil of preference.
      Lay in a sacrificial piece of the beef and brown on both sides, or chow if diminutive - in pieces.
      Immediately upon at the point of no-blood, add all prepared scallions and place a lid over all.
      Please do not answer the phone, or leave the room, or turn your back - or peek.
      Tidy your work area on both sides of the stove, always attentive to the aroma from under the lid.
      At the slightest hint of anything untoward, move the pan from the heat source and remove the lid to see what's what.
      Once things are unbearably delicious according to smell, uncover and stir it all about.
      How's it look to you?
      More stirring to "tighten" things a bit, or, more lidded time to "loosen"?
      Proceed toward your goal.
      In the end, you will have as much seasoned oil as you desire + as many pre-prepared scallions are you want to have on-hand.
      The meat could be left /tossed/added to the beef you're already planning to prepare in the now delightfully ready (and tasty!) skillet, or, maybe left on a saucer stove-side for munching as you prepare whatever you're making with beef at the time? '-)
      Been there, done that!
      Another pleasant way to get your hands on copious amounts of the tasty-beefy scallions for a pho condiment is to lay them over beef on the backyard grill for "carne asada" - always _after_ the first flip; _never_ on the "bloody side" of the beef. If doing this, be sure to trim the scallions so as not to allow them to overhang (where they will surely dry & die in a flash).
      Another pleasant way to make a large quantity of the scallions you seek is to place a London Broil, or other similar cut in the oven, slather with the usual and cover that with even 12+ bunches of prepared scallions, then, tightly cover with the lid atop a prior covering of foil.
      Remove your scallions at the 15 - 30 minute mark - (Check for your preferred texture to be attained first),
      Then, simply pass them through a skillet of beefy oil from preparing another cut. By this I mean, instead of deglazing the pan after searing a steak, or ?, simply leave the goodness, add as much oil as you're after + the oven-prepared scallions (In batches, if need be) & you're ready to pack them away to the freezer, or refrigerator for later consumption.
      These previously prepared scallions are a boon to many a dish, from a simple bowl of steamed plain white rice to a whole roasted -or- baked potato, or a melange of veggies for serving over a starch of any sort, or for adding last-minute to asparagus ends -or- green beans sauteed to make them "pop" with with a surprising and delectable flavor. A touch of sesame oil to finish is a delightful addition, too the green beans/asparagus, etc.
      The oil, too, may be used as more than a condiment for pho; warming any previously oven-roasted root veggies in a skillet with the oil - and especially ending with a handful of the scallions - is magnificent for a light dinner - all you need's a baguette & something lovely to wash it all down and: Dinner Time!
      I hope this was helpful to you in your quest.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SusanaTheConqueress

        susana, you're amazing. thank you for all these ideas, which will help tide me over during the sad 9pm-9 am hours when my favorite place is closed.

        1. re: ramonasaur

          Muah! I kiss your face! <3
          Praise: I eat it up! '-)

      2. The important question is: Where are you getting this in Philly?

        2 Replies
        1. re: PhillyCook

          pho ha, in the big vietnamese mall at 6th and washington! they're so freaking fast, reliable, and cheap. and the servers are all sweet and friendly and i love them.

          the fatty scallion broth is on the back of the menu, with the drinks and extras. while you're there, the vinegar onions (not pickled, just balls-out raw white onion in mild vinegar) are also a good soup addition. and the fresh lime soda is really good (they give you a glass with lime juice, sugar, and ice, and a bottle of soda water on the side). i pretty much always just get pho, but the special weekend soups are good too -- the lemongrass beef one comes with a whole pig foot right on top. i think my first chowhound post was an attempt to figure out how to eat that foot.

          1. re: PhillyCook

            you know what other vietnamese place is really amazing, but on the jersey side of the bridge, is pho so 1 on route 38 in cherry hill. they have a huge menu that has so far done me so right.

            (pho ha on the other hand has a waffle-house-like combinatorics of basically 6 things that they do well).