Pho (pronounced fuh) is a wonderful Vietnamese soup made from beef stock, spices, noodles, and thinly sliced beef, chicken, or pork. It may also include shrimp but this is a less frequently used ingredient. While many restaurants will serve this meal for lunch and dinner in the United States, it is typically a breakfast food in Vietnam. Patrons will stop at a pho vendor on their way to work in the morning and will enjoy a warm meal just by the stall where they bought their food.
This simple dish is most often judged by the quality of the broth instead of the other ingredients. An exceptional bowl of pho should not need extra spices or seasoning put in at the table. This is not to say you cannot add anything to your bowl without being rude. It is actually encouraged to add scallions or bean sprouts, jalapenos or cilantro but those are all things you’d pick out of the bowl with your chopsticks and not something you’re likely to drink out of the bowl when finished.
Here is an easy recipe so you can make your own pho. Feel free to tweak it as needed and see if you can create an exceptional bowl of pho for your family to love and enjoy.
Ingredients for Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
• 2 tbsp canola oil
• 2 yellow onions, halved
• 1, 3-inch piece of fresh Ginger, halved
• 2 cloves garlic
• 4 qt low-sodium beef stock
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 3 star anise
• 2-4 tbsp fish sauce
• 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
• 1 tbsp kosher salt
• Ground pepper, fresh
• 8 oz rice noodles
• 12 oz beef sirloin, fat trimmed
• 2 thai chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
• 1 bunch fresh mint
• ½ white onion, sliced paper thin
• 4 scallions (optional)
• Sriracha or Chili Garlic Sauce (optional)
• Lime Wedges (optional)
• 1 cup bean sprouts, fresh (optional)
• 2 jalapeno peppers (optional)
• ½ cup cilantro, fresh (optional)
How to Cook Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
• Prepare rice noodles as directed on packet.
• Put a large pot on high heat.
• Tenderize meat but poking holes all over it with a fork.
• Season the meat with salt and pepper.
• Sear the meat until it is both charred and still raw. (this should take 2-3 minutes on each side).
• Set the meat aside on a plate.
• Heat oil then add ginger and onions.
• Cook 4 minutes.
• Add broth, 3 cups water, star anise and cinnamon.
• Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
• Thinly slice the scallions and jalapenos (remove seed to reduce heat)
• Thinly slice the meat (against the grain)
• Drain noodles.
• Add fish sauce to the broth and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
• Strain the broth (keeping only the onions)
• Slice onions
• Serve with the optional ingredients on the side so each person can decide what they want in their bowl.
Author Bio: Greg Aziz is a freelance copywriter with a Journalism degree from University of Toronto and with over 5 years of experience writing for hundreds of companies from virtually any industry. Feel free to connect with him on Quora.