Chef Mike’s Lamon Basil Black Cob Pho

Last Wednesday night I was walking back home from work when I got a text from my friend chef Mike. He was asking if I wanted to go over to his place and experiment with him this new recipe for fish pho. I was quite tired and I had planned to just go home, work out, eat and go to bed BUT when a chef asks you to cook with him being tired and working out is the last of your priority, also because apportunities like this don’t knock at your door very often!

So I head there and we started cooking…ok, ok…he was cooking I was just observing, shooting pictures and taking down notes. It was exciting! Even if I basically didn’t do ANYTHING helpfu,l even only being there made me feel like I was taking part to the cooking. Not to mention the many things I’ve learned by just looking and listening to him.

Thank you Mike!

Thank you, thank you, thank you 🙂

We should do this more often!

There are a couple of  “special” ingredients you will need to make this dish. One is this stone dry chilly sauce from Vietnam (you can replace it with kosher salt and chilly flakes)

and the other is the Old Bay (which you can replace with Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic Seasoning).

other than that, all the rest is pretty much all simple staff.

Ingredients (serves 4):

for the sachet

  • 2 tbsp stone dry chilly sauce (or 4 tsp kosher salt and 2 tsp chilly flakes)
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp black pepper in grain
  • 2 pieces of cardamom (split in half)
  • 2 pieces of aniseed
  • cheesecloth
  • 2 tbsp ginger

for the soup

  • 3 tbsp vetegable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion
  • 2 tsp old bay
  • 250 g black cod fish
  • 1/2 cup white dry wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 200 g noodles (Chinese Lamian, soba noodles, angel hair)

First thing smoke the ginger! Basically all you need to do is putting a big piece of fresh ginger on the flame of your stove and let it get slightly brown being careful to not burn it. Chef Mike used tongs that he grabbed using a towel to avoid burning his fingers.

then prepare the sachet by putting into the center of a cheesecloth the stone dry chilly sauce, the garlic, the black pepper grains, the cardamom and the aniseed. Close the cheesecloth and set aside.

Wash some fresh basil

chop the carrot


and scallion

In a high pot heat up the vegetable oil and saute’ the veggies for a couple of minutes

Meanwhile chop the black cob into big pieces and transfer it into the pot with the veggies

add about 2 tsp of old bay (or of Seafood seasoning) and saute’ the fish for a couple of minutes until it gets slightly colored on the outside

Remove the fish from the pot

and pour in about 1/2 cup of dry white wine. Turn on the heat and let it evaporate

Next up, add about 3 l of water into the pot,

and the sachet

half cover the pot with a lid and let it gently boil until it reduces of 1/3

Meanwhile cut the fish into pieces, some smaller, some bigger

When the water has reduced of a third, throw in the chopped basil

add in the fish

and squeeze in the juice of a full lemon. Adjust with salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for a bit longer

Take about 1 cup of the soup and dissolve into it about 2 tbsp of corn starch whisking very fast to avoid the creation of lumps

When the soup is almost ready, add in the noodles, cook them according to package instructions (we used chinese lamian noodles which took about 4 min to cook)

Add to the soup some fresh chopped cilantro

and serve it decoating with some carrots, cilantro and lemon zest

The whole process will take about 1 hour and a half but it’s totally worth it! Check on the salt and lemon while cooking and add more according to your taste.

Thank you Michael Solovey for this Amazing recipe!


Micheal is working on opening his own restaurant here in Shanghai. Meanwhile he does consulting for many restaurants in the city.

About the author:

An Italian living in China with a strong passion for cooking! Browse my 'left-overs' session for many tasty grub!. Follow her on Twitter / Facebook.