Ha ha, my husband has a sense of humor, doesn’t he? He came up with the name for this soup, not because he didn’t like it (we both really enjoyed it), but because I didn’t make an authentic Pho. I didn’t attempt to make authentic Pho on purpose because I already had some beef broth and I didn’t want to make a new batch of broth specifically for Pho. So instead, I cheated by adding the key spices to my beef broth, and simmering it for about an hour and a half to impart the flavor of the spices. Making a proper Pho stock is fairly involved and is typically made in a big batch, with steps like charring onion and ginger over an open flame!
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is usually served with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga). The soup itself is simply the flavorsome broth with noodles and meat. But a bowl of Pho can be jazzed up as much or as little as you like by providing a plate of optional garnishes at the table and letting each person flavor their Pho according to their tastes.
My picture of this wonderful soup isn’t the best, because I was a bit heavy-handed with the greens. But it still tasted delicious!
6 cups homemade beef stock
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
6 black peppercorns
1 cardamom pod
½ to 1 tsp. Sucanat or palm/coconut sugar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
4 oz (½ pack) maifun rice noodles
¾ lb grass-fed steak (sirloin, London broil or flat iron are good choices) thinly sliced across the grain (easier to do if the meat is partially frozen)
Mung bean sprouts
Chili sauce (or Sriracha sauce)
1. Heat stock in a large pot and add all of the spices. Simmer for at least an hour, preferably 1 1/2 hours, to allow the flavor of the spices to permeate into the stock.
2. Add the sugar and fish sauce to taste.
3. Remove the ginger and whole spices (I fished them out with a tea strainer, but easier to have made a spice bundle using cheesecloth).
4. Boil the jug to get some hot water. Place the rice noodles in a bowl and pour the boiled water over the noodles and let them sit for a couple minutes to soften. This works for the very thin rice noodles that I used. If you’re using thicker rice noodles they will need a little more cooking first.
5. Divide the noodles between the individual serving bowls.
6. Divide the thinly sliced raw meat across the bowls.
7. Bring broth to a rolling boil, then ladle some into each bowl, taking care to fully cover all of the beef so that the raw beef will cook. This is why its important to slice the meat very thin!
8. Allow each person to garnish their bowl of Pho according to their tastes.
If you’re interested in making Pho but want to make the proper Pho stock, here are two links that I found to be really helpful:
Linking to: Sunday Night Soup Night!, Sunday School @ Butter Believer, Monday Mania @ Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Barnhop @ The Prairie Homestead, Make Your Own Mondays, Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays @ Cooking Traditional Foods, Real Food Wednesday @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Whole Food Wednesday @ Beyond the Peel, Pennywise Platter Thursdays @ Nourishing Gourmet, Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Freaky Friday @ Real Food Freaks, Friday Food Flicks @ Traditional Foods, Fight Back Fridays @ Food Renegade