Andrea Nguyen cracks the code of pho for the home cook
You can use tools you already have, but these items are so useful they’re worth buying. Find the skimmer, ladle, and strainer at Asian markets, and the muslin at fabric stores.
A flat, fine-mesh skimmer easily and quickly whisks the scum from the top of the broth as it simmers.
A simple metal soup ladle with a thin rim scoops fat from the top of the broth to keep it light (though you’ll want to leave a little bit of fat for flavor).
For straining, lining a colander with unbleached muslin ensures a clear broth. The material is much sturdier and cheaper than cheesecloth, and can be washed and reused many times.
With its vertical handle, a noodle strainer holds noodles more efficiently than a regular strainer as you dunk them into boiling water. The bowl is just big enough to contain one serving.