Pho, what?

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These days it’s often that a YouTube chef inspires me to cook a new dish. And today, I’d like to talk about that one time when a YouTuber almost changed my life with her recipe upload. Sadia of Pick Up Limes inspires me to live healthy with her tips on minimalism, leading a stress-free life, and cooking healthy. It was one of her uploads that I couldn’t stop watching again and again.

Now, here was a dish, I never tasted before! I haven’t been to Vancouver, the place Sadia was talking about nor to any Vietnamese restaurant. But her video, which has a beautiful background song (Limes by Navina), inspired me to make Pho, a Vietnamese-style noodle soup. It almost touched my heart when she said, “I miss my Pho,” in the video. So, that’s how it all began.

Like most of the times, I showed the video to my husband, and asked his thoughts. He, like always, saw the video with a straight face and nodded his head. I asked him, “How would you like it if I make Pho for you?” to which he replied, “Let me watch some TV.” Does he even care? He only wants a plate of food on time. Seriously. Whether it is Khichdi or Pho. At least that much I could understand.

We have a gourmet store right opposite our society. So, one day, I said enough is enough to myself, made a list of its ingredients, and went there to shop. And I came back. The hoisin sauce, rice noodles, bouillon cubes, etc. are things that have never made to my kitchen before. So much for a bowl of noodle soup? I had to cancel my plan.

But it didn’t stop there. This time, I was on a plane, when I saw the already downloaded videos on YouTube. I saw the video over and over. The soup looks so beautiful, I muttered in my head. Forget it, I said to myself in the next minute.

After a few days, I saw the video again. This time, I only cared for the song. And kept repeating it. I did fall in love with the song. That’s about it.

Finally, after a month or two, I filled my wallet with enough cash and headed straight to the gourmet store with my jute bag. Picked up the rice noodles, the Sriracha sauce and all the exotic veggies and herbs. Didn’t buy the Tofu for I had cottage cheese at home. Overlooked my food bill. This much for a single meal? No, I didn’t let anything discourage me.

Well, the shopping itself made me hungry, but I ignored it.

I barged into the kitchen and collected different vessels. There were many steps involved! Made the base with roasting the onions and spices. Boiled the rice noodles way too much (we couldn’t even finish them; I could use less). Chopped the veggies and seasoned my soup. Boy! I was starving already!

I had already drained myself. Cooking something that’s out of my league does take time. What might be simple for you, might be difficult for me. I didn’t have the sprouts or the bouillon cubes but I managed somehow. And till the time I brought the noodle soup to the table, it was cold. Who likes cold soups?

When I tasted it, I realised there was hardly any salt in it. Rushed back to the kitchen. I couldn’t understand how to have the noodle soup with ease. It involved slurping, and a lot of it! I can’t tell you if I was comfortable eating it (or slurping it?). But, after having two bowls of it, and adding a bit of more chilli sauce every time, I was fine.

So, here are my lessons.

Never cook a new dish when you’re hungry. Taste the dish first at a restaurant to know the actual flavours (if you can). And give yourself time to adjust to the new taste when trying something for the first time. And, yes, don’t be afraid if you don’t have all the ingredients. You’re not going to cheat with the cuisine but giving it your own touch! Finally, practice can only make you perfect. Remember that.

From my experience, I can say that I’m going to make noodle soups more often. For next time, I have got some Japanese-style Soba noodles that are made with organic buckwheat flour. Again, Sadia inspired me for this one, too. Pho her, I will.

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