Phở or simply pho (pronounced fuh) is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of rice noodles, meat or sometimes just vegetables, fresh herbs, and broth. The cornerstone of a good pho lies in the quality of the broth, so take your time and let the flavors simmer and meld. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
This phở-nominal recipe makes a huge batch of broth (if you're going to simmer something all day, you might as well go big!), so freeze some of it for later meals. Plan on about 2-3 cups of broth per bowl and about a 1/4 pound of thinly sliced (sukiyaki thin) beef per person. Add as much or as little of the garnishes as you like.
Homemade Beef Pho
About 8-10 servings
For the broth:
4-6 short ribs
2 large ox tails
4 49-ounce cans chicken stock
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
8-10 black and white pepper corns (a mixture of both)
1 large yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
1 stick cinnamon
About 20 coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin
¾ cups fish sauce
For the soup:
2 packages of rice noodles
Thinly sliced beef (about 1/4 pound per person)
Finely chopped green onions
A pile of bean sprouts
Sprigs of fresh Thai basil and cilantro
To make the broth: Take about 4-6 short ribs and 2 big ox tails and roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes in the oven, or until they are good and browned. Once browned take them out of the oven, remove the fat and add the bones and meat to a stockpot.
Deglaze the roasting pan with a bit of chicken stock (about 1 cup), then add to the pot.
Add a good hunk of ginger, about 2 inches sliced, and about 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot.
Pour in roughly 4 large 49-ounce cans of chicken stock, and let simmer for about 3-4 hours. Skim off the fat scum periodically.
After the long simmer add the remaining broth ingredients and simmer another 40 minutes, then drain the stock, reserving the liquid, and discard the bones and spices.
Prepare 2 packages of rice noodles (thin to medium; it’s all a matter of preference) according to instructions – usually just a fast "swizzle" in boiling water.
Compile the following on a big plate: sliced limes, finely chopped green onions, a pile of bean sprouts, and sprigs of basil and cilantro.
Have an assortment of good chili sauce (Sriracha is great!) and hoisin or oyster sauce.
For the meat version use thinly sliced beef or pork; sukiyaki cuts are available at Asian markets. The thin slices will quickly cook in the hot broth.
You’re now ready to assemble your pho. For individual servings, add some noodles to a bowl. Add sliced of beef and pour in some of your hot beef broth. Top with green onions, bean sprouts, and a handful of basil and cilantro. Give a good squeeze of lime juice and season to taste with chili sauce and/or hoisin sauce.
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