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Vietnamese ingredient - "hoi" - what is it?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Fred12fred

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:11 AM

My local Vietnamese soup noodle spot recently changed their broth recipe! Unfortunately for me, the change is for the worse. So, now it's up to me to figure out how to recreate their broth at home.

In talking with the manager of the store, he told me that the main ingredient that they stopped putting in was something called "hoi" in Vietnamese. Written, the "o" has a line on top and a "^" underneath the line. So, top to bottom, it's -, ^, o. He didn't know the English name.

Can anyone tell me what this magical ingredient is?

And, if anyone has a good Vietnamese chicken broth recipe...

Thanks!

#2 HungryC

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:27 PM

Was he perhaps speaking in general terms about the broth, rather than about a specific ingredient? One meaning of hoi (sorry, necessary diacritical marks not available here) is fragrant/smelly....those precise diacritical marks are important if you want to look it up. Several viet dictionaries on the web might help you out...Andrea Nguyen's "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" cookbook contains my go-to pho ga recipe. She covers all the important steps, from dry-toasting the spices & charring the ginger & garlic to ensuring a non-cloudy broth. See p 206 of the aforementioned book.

#3 Fred12fred

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:46 PM

Thanks for the suggestion on the cookbook. I'll definitely check that out.

And, he was talking about a specific ingredient. From the sound of it, I would have guessed it was something along the lines of star anise, but I have no clue. He just told me they stopped adding it to their broth because "Americans don't like the smell of it" :shock:

#4 Kerry Beal

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 03:00 PM

The broth I've made in the past was always 'lacking something' until I added enough fish sauce. And I'd bet that "americans don't like the smell of it" would apply.

There do seem to be brands of fish sauce called Hoi.

#5 Fred12fred

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:33 AM

Not wasting any time, I grabbed a copy of Andrea Nguyen's cookbook and tried out her pho ga recipe over the weekend and it's really good!

Per Kerry's note, I made sure I put in enough fish sauce even though I'm always terrified by how much recipes tell me to add, and after cooking, it really mellows out.

It's not the same as what I was looking for...but it'll do quite nicely. :biggrin:

#6 HungryC

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:40 AM

I poked around a bit more, and I found a "hoi" reference related to the "smell of mutton"...dunno if the broth in question contained mutton or sheep fat?

#7 percival

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 05:36 PM

Are you sure you've got the right word? The only one I can think of is tỏi, which is garlic.

Hổi is steam/steaming/hot.

#8 Fred12fred

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 03:35 PM

I poked around a bit more, and I found a "hoi" reference related to the "smell of mutton"...dunno if the broth in question contained mutton or sheep fat?


:huh: I'm pretty sure that there wasn't any mutton in the broth. Although, I'm pretty sure that would tie into the whole "don't like the smell of it" comment. :raz:

Are you sure you've got the right word? The only one I can think of is tỏi, which is garlic.

Hổi is steam/steaming/hot.


I'm sure that I got the word right because he wrote it down for me, and it looks exactly like the word you typed above.

I think the conclusion that I have come to is that he was just giving me the runaround to protect their secrets. :laugh:

Edited by Fred12fred, 25 August 2010 - 03:35 PM.


#9 takadi

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:11 PM

I know this is two years too late, but what he actually wrote was "hồi". Vietnamese people often write that downward slashing diacritical mark as a horizontal line. Hồi is star anise, and it is strange that he has decided to omit it from pho.