Faux Pho

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!

Faux Pho

6 cups homemade beef stock
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
4 cloves
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)

Optional Garnishes:
Mung bean sprouts
Hoisin sauce
Chili sauce (or Sriracha sauce)
Lime wedges

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

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19 Comment

  1. I’ve always wondered how to make proper pho but never bothered to find out. I’m going to have to try it! But first I’m going to try it your quick and easy way 🙂 While rice noodles are out for us, the change in flavor profile will be welcome!

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      Is daikon radish GAPS legal? That and other vegetables could be added in lieu of noodles……or use zucchini noodles – that could be fun!

  2. We love pho! Thanks for the recipes. My hubby’s going to love me giving these a try!

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      Hi Christy, thanks! It’s always fun to try out different styles of cuisines!

  3. Anita says: Reply

    Looks wonderful! We are going to have to try this. I think my kids would love to watch the meat cook right in the bowl! Thank-you for sharing.

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      Thanks Anita! Oh yeah, that part is fun 🙂

  4. Beth says: Reply

    I’d be curious how to make a homemade version of hoisin sauce, assuming store-bought brands contain unwanted ingredients and additives.

    Also, for GAPS folks, I was intrigued by the idea of zucchini noodles above. Would that be just thinly sliced zucchini, or how exactly would you prepare them?

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      Hi Beth, I’ve never thought about making homemade hoisin sauce, but that’s not a bad idea! Regarding zucchini noodles, I’ve personally never tried making them, but Elana’s Pantry has a couple posts about it:
      She uses a julienne slicer to make her zucchini noodles

  5. shuhan says: Reply

    may be “faux” but sure looks good! I like simple, tasty foods liek this, and light broth-based soups liek this us just ultimate comfort food for me!

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      Thanks Shuhan, I’m glad you like it!

  6. Jen says: Reply

    Ha, love that- Faux Pho! Looks yummy too!

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      Thanks Jen!

  7. Debbie, what a beautiful clear and fresh Faux Pho, it looks delicious! I just love the spice mix in this recipe. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂

  9. […] up, I picked Faux Pho from Easy Natural Food. I love, love, love pho and always consider it a treat to go out to dinner […]

  10. […] up, I picked Faux Pho from Easy Natural Food. I love, love, love pho and always consider it a treat to go out to dinner for a big bowl of it. […]

  11. […] was a tough decision, considering we get so many awesome posts each week! First up, Jessica picked Faux Pho from Easy Natural Food. “I love, love, love pho and always consider it a treat to go out to dinner for a big bowl of […]

  12. […] called phở. If you want a great recipe for homemade phở, check out my friend Debbie’s recipe from Easy Natural Food. Mmmm … this is making me […]

  13. […] are some of my soups that use beef stock: Thai Beef Coconut Soup Tomato, Beef and Vegetable Soup Faux Pho Paleo Minestrone Asian Dumpling […]

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