Mr. Claire and I have a LOT of favorite soups. Hot or cold outside, it doesn’t matter – we love a good soup and we also can’t resist the way the house smells when we have one going in the Dutch oven or slow cooker. Vietnamese Beef Pho Noodle Soup is one of our favorite favorite take-out orders so we decided to try making it at home.
I must say, for an Italian guy and an Irish girl, it was pretty spot on. It takes a little prep – just under an hour to make overall – but the end result was so worth it.
If you haven’t tried Pho (pronounced “fuh”) yet I will give you a quick background per Wikipedia:
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily served with either beef or chicken. Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam and is a specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Southern Vietnamese eat it for breakfast and occasionally lunch, whereas those from northern Vietnam consume it at any time of day.
It’s hard to describe the amazing flavors that come together in a bowl of pho soup. The coriander, star anise, cinnamon and ginger come together with the beef stock and onions to make one of THE best beef broths I have ever tasted.
The hot broth actually cooks the thinly sliced beef in the bowls as it is served.
- 2 large onions
- 4-inch piece fresh ginger
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 6 cups beef broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (substitute tamari if making gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 pound sirloin steak, round eye, or London broil, sliced into thin 1/4" slices.
- 8 ounces dried rice noodles (bahn pho, 1/16-, 1/8-, or 1/-4 inch wide)
- 3 scallions
- 1 chili pepper (serrano or jalapeño)
- 1 to 2 limes
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, Thai basil, mint, or a mix)
- Hot sauce, Sriracha, or hoisin sauce, to taste
- Peel the onions and cut them into big quarters.
- Peel the ginger as best you can and slice it into rough quarters down its length.
- Set these aside.
- Place the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander seeds in the bottom of a dry 2-quart saucepan and dry-roast over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, until toasty and very fragrant.
- Stir frequently to prevent the spices from scorching.
- To the pan with the spices, add the beef broth or stock, soy sauce, fish sauce, the onions and ginger.
- Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cover and continue simmering for 30 minutes.
- Bring a second saucepan of water to a boil.
- Remove from heat and drop in the rice noodles and allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes.
- Thinly slice the scallions and the chili pepper.
- Cut the lime into wedges.
- Place the bean sprouts in a serving dish.
- Roughly chop the herbs or tear them with your hands.
- Arrange all the toppings on a serving dish and set aside.
- When the broth is ready, set a strainer over another bowl or saucepan, and strain the solids from the broth.
- Discard the solids.
- Place the broth back over low heat and keep it just below a simmer.
- The broth needs to be very hot to cook the beef.
- Divide the noodles between serving bowls and top each with a few slices of the raw beef.
- Arrange the beef in a single layer so that the slices will cook evenly in the broth; slices that are stacked or clumped may not cook all the way through.
- Ladle the steaming broth into each bowl, pouring it evenly over the beef in order to cook it - the beef should immediately start to turn opaque.
- Fill each bowl with as much broth as desired.
- Serve the pho and let each person top their bowl as they like with bean sprouts, fresh herbs, scallions, peppers and hot sauce or hoisin.
- Have your butcher slice the beef - it will save time.
Claire is a wife and busy working Mom to three boys and A Little CLAIREification is a lifestyle blog committed to bringing readers “Bright Ideas On A Budget” – from recipes, crafts and DIY projects to time management tips, meal planning and inspiration.
A self proclaimed CHEESE addict and lover of Sharpie markers in every color known to man, Claire also likes to throw a little fun and laughter in the mix as well. I’d love for you to follow along!