The comfort of a steaming, fragrant bowl of pho is unparalleled. Originating in northern Vietnam, pho is a traditional noodle soup that has now become a beloved dish worldwide. A good pho is an amalgamation of flavors and spices that invoke memories of Vietnam’s rich culinary culture. With each slurp, the broth brimming with herbs, spices and meat rouses warmth in your body until you’re left with nothing but contentment.
As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I’m passionate about sharing authentic Vietnamese recipes that unlock the true flavors of Vietnam. This recipe for authentic Vietnamese pho is sure to win hearts and stomachs. The broth is the heart and soul of pho, and my recipe makes use of key ingredients like beef bones with marrow, cinnamon stick, star anise, ginger and shallots to create a broth that is luxurious, yet light on the palate.
While pho can be customized to suit one’s preference, my recipe follows the original northern Vietnamese style pho with beef. Whether you are hosting a group or looking at a leisurely weekend meal for your family and friends or meal prep for later in the week- this recipe will have you covered. Get ready to make memories with this savory Vietnamese delicacy!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I can’t emphasize enough how delighted I am to share with you this authentic Vietnamese Pho recipe. If you’re looking for a flavorful, easy-to-make, and soul-warming comfort food, this traditional Pho noodle soup is your answer.
The blend of herbs and spices like cinnamon stick, star anise, ginger, shallots, onions, and fresh chili peppers creates a depth of flavors that will satisfy not only your taste buds but also your soul. The pho broth is made from beef bones with marrow that simmer for hours until a rich and savory base is achieved. The thinly sliced beef sirloin adds an extra layer of texture and savors to the dish as it cooks in the hot broth while the rice noodles soak up all the flavors of the soup.
Whether you’re looking for a classic or spicy version of the dish, you can customize the heat level according to your preference by adding hot chili sauce or fresh chili peppers. Additionally, with substitutions like shrimps or vegetables instead of beef or chicken broth instead of beef broth, this recipe is adaptable to dietary preferences.
Not only this recipe is flavorful and adaptable, but it’s also relatively inexpensive compared to other fancy dishes. With just a few pounds of beef and some basic produce like onions and ginger, you can feed a group without breaking your budget.
In conclusion, if authentic Vietnamese cuisine tickles your fancy, you’ll love this recipe for its rich flavor profile and adaptability. So why not try making homemade Pho today?
Ingredients for the Broth:
- 5-6 pounds of beef bones with marrow
- 1 onion, unpeeled and halved
- 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
- 2-3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 shallots, peeled
- 1 parsnip, peeled
- Salt (to taste)
Ingredients for the Pho Noodle Soup:
- 1 lb beef sirloin, sliced very thin
- Rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
- Fresh cilantro, basil, and scallions, chopped
- Fresh bean sprouts
- Thinly sliced white onions
- Fresh chili peppers or hot chili sauce
- Lime wedges
- Fish sauce (to taste)
- Nuoc Nam or soy sauce (optional for additional seasoning)
Vegetarian Substitution: Use vegetable broth and replace the beef with tofu or mushrooms.
Chicken Substitution: Use chicken broth and replace the beef with thinly sliced chicken breast or thigh meat.
Shrimp Substitution: Include shrimp on top of the pho as a topping.
Note: This recipe can be made either in a slow-cooker or stovetop.
The Recipe How-To
To make the pho broth for this Vietnamese pho recipe, start by heating a large pot of water to boiling. Add 5-6 pounds of beef bones with marrow along with 1-2 onions (quartered), 3-4 parsnips (cut in half), and 8 slices fresh ginger. Let the bones and vegetables simmer for at least two hours, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. After two hours, add 2 strips of Vietnamese cinnamon, 2 whole star anise, and 1/4 cup of nuoc nam (Vietnamese fish sauce). Simmer for another 30 minutes.
While the broth simmers, bring a separate pot of water to a boil to cook your rice noodles. Cook until tender but still chewy- around 6-7 minutes.
In another pot or large skillet on medium heat, cook your thinly sliced beef sirloin until just browned.
Assembling the Pho
After you’ve cooked down all the ingredients in your soup, you should have fragrant pho broth that’s gone through several stages of reductive development. Strain out the solids through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
To assemble your bowls, divide your cooked noodles into six serving bowls. Next top with your cooked beef slices and chopped scallions. Pour hot broth over top (reheat if necessary) with enough liquid per bowl that’s deep enough to warm everything up throughly. Add in fresh herbs such as thinly sliced onion greens and fresh cilantro or basil leaves.
Serve fresh with side dishes such as fresh bean sprouts, lime wedges, Thai basil, or Vietnamese chili sauce on top – they add flavor notes that will elevate your Vietnamese noodle soup game from authentic to heaven.
Enjoy your homemade pho with your friends and family!
Substitutions and Variations
As much as I love traditional Vietnamese Pho, there are plenty of ways to customize your bowl to your liking. For example, if you’re wanting a vegetarian option, swap out the meat for tofu or mushroom and use vegetable broth in lieu of beef broth. For a seafood twist, add shrimp or scallops to the soup.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a kick, consider adding hot chili sauce, sriracha, or fresh chili peppers to the mix. Another great addition to any Pho is a sprinkle of black pepper for an extra pop of flavor.
If you’re unable to find traditional Vietnamese herbs like Asian basil or mint, you can always substitute them with regular basil or mint leaves. Additionally, parsnips can be used instead of the commonly used daikon radishes.
Some other modifications include using chicken in place of beef, which would make it Chicken Pho instead of Beef Pho. Alternatively, shake things up and try a Northern-style Pho that involves less herbs and veggies but still packs a punch of flavor.
There are so many variations and substitutions you can make to your Pho recipe to suit your taste buds perfectly. The best part is that even small changes can result in something new and delicious every time.
Serving and Pairing
As a Vietnamese classic, pho is best served hot and ready to be savored in large bowls. One can customize it with the various accompaniments that are usually served on the side. Fresh Asian basil, regular basil or fresh mint leaves, lime wedges, fresh chili peppers, fresh bean sprouts, sliced scallions and cilantro are usually put out as toppings to make the bowl of pho even more flavorful. Bean sprouts are added for crunchiness while the herbs and lime wedges provide some refreshing greenness to the savory broth.
For those who enjoy a little spiciness or an extra kick of flavor, hot chili sauce or hoisin sauce can be added directly into the bowl. Black pepper can also be used to bring a bold taste that goes well with the beefy and nutty flavor profile of the pho. Some prefer to add nuoc mam or fish sauce for saltiness purposes.
Pho pairs best with a cold beverage like beer or iced tea as it helps cut through the richness of the soup broth. However, it is also perfect on its own as its careful blend of layers will transport you completely into another world without any additional liquid accompaniment.
Another thing that sets pho apart is that it goes well anytime – breakfast, lunch or dinner – making it a versatile dish that’s perfect for any occasion!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
The beauty of Vietnamese pho is that it can be easily made ahead of time and reheated for later consumption. In fact, the flavors often develop even more depth when left to sit for a day or two in the fridge.
To store your homemade pho, simply pour the cooled broth and ingredients into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. When ready to eat, reheat the broth over medium heat until hot, and then add fresh rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, and any additional garnishes you desire.
If you plan to freeze your pho for later use, simply strain the broth and transfer it into freezer-safe containers or bags. The broth can be frozen for up to three months. To reheat frozen pho, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw completely in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the broth over medium heat until hot and then serve as normal with fresh noodles and toppings.
Remember that when reheating pho, it’s important to keep the broth separate from the noodles and other ingredients until immediately before serving. This will prevent the noodles from becoming mushy or overcooked.
Overall, Vietnamese pho is a versatile dish that can easily be made ahead of time and stored for later enjoyment without sacrificing any of its authentic flavors or textures.
Tips for Perfect Results
To achieve the perfect Vietnamese Pho, one must pay close attention to the details. Here are some tips that can help you achieve an authentic and delicious dish.
First and foremost, it is essential to use fresh ingredients. Do not skimp on fresh Asian basil, mint, chili peppers, or bean sprouts. Freshness adds character, and it creates a balance of flavor when combined with spices.
One crucial element of any pho recipe is the broth. A good broth takes time to develop flavor. Be patient and let the broth simmer for at least 4-6 hours with beef bones marrow knuckle bones. This way gives your soup an incredible flavor that you wouldn’t want to miss. The longer your broth simmers, the richer it will become.
In addition to bone marrow and knuckle bones, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, onion, shallots are added ingredients that contribute to the broth’s depth of flavor. Once done right, you’ll have a thick soup base that’s packed with umami.
Another crucial tip is to slice the meat thinly against the grain. The trick is to make sure each piece of meat breaks apart easily in the hot broth without losing its tender texture.
Pho is traditionally served with rice noodles that have been cooked in a separate pot before serving into bowls. Make sure not to overcook the noodles which also tend to soften once they are in the hot broth.
Finally, taste throughout every step and be mindful of seasoning adjustments according to your liking. Add cilantro and basil leaves at the end to give your soup an extra fresh zing.
With these tips in mind, you can embrace traditional Vietnamese Pho with ease and achieve a flavorful bowl without fail!
As we wrap up our discussion of this Vietnamese Pho recipe, you may have some lingering questions. Don’t fret! I’ve compiled some frequently asked questions and their respective answers to help make your cooking process a breeze. So, let’s jump into it!
What are the secret ingredients in pho?
The addition of dried peanut worms, also known as sa sung, is believed to be the key to achieving exceptional pho flavor.
What does Vietnamese Pho have in it?
Originating in Vietnam, pho is a popular soup made with bone broth, thin slices of beef, and rice noodles. It is typically served with a variety of garnishes such as bean sprouts, herbs, lime, and chiles. Although not much is known about its precise origin, it is believed that pho has been around since the early 1900s in Northern Vietnam.
What is the broth made of in pho?
Pho is a beloved Vietnamese dish that entails creating a broth by slowly simmering beef bones, ginger, onions and other seasonings for several hours. After this, rice noodles, or “banh pho”, are added to the broth along with fresh herbs such as cilantro or basil. Finally, thin slices of beef or chicken are placed into the steaming broth, cooking the meat to perfection.
How healthy is Vietnamese pho?
Pho is a highly nutritious dish that can aid in meeting various nutritional requirements of the body. Relishing a bowl of pho made with lean meats and veggies can offer a generous amount of vitamins, fiber, protein, antioxidants, carbs, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. So, by having a bowl of this delicious Vietnamese soup, you can have a healthy and nutritious meal.
In conclusion, the Vietnamese Pho recipe is a must-try for anyone looking to expand their culinary skills and appetite for Asian cuisine. With its exotic blend of spices and authentic flavors, this traditional dish is sure to transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Vietnam.
Whether you’re in the mood for a classic beef pho or a spicy shrimp version, this recipe is versatile enough to suit any dietary preferences. And with easy-to-find ingredients like fresh basil and mint leaves, limes, and bean sprouts, you can whip up a batch of delicious pho right in your own kitchen.
So why wait? Try this authentic Vietnamese Pho recipe today and discover the unique flavor that has made it a staple dish in kitchens around the world. Trust me; once you take that first spoonful of hot broth with thinly sliced beef and rice noodles, you’ll be hooked for life!
Vietnamese Pho Recipe
- 5 lbs beef bones with marrow
- 5 lbs oxtails
- 1 lb flank steak
- 2 large onions, unpeeled, halved, and studded with 8 cloves
- 3 shallots, unpeeled
- 2 ounces ginger, unpeeled (1 piece)
- 8 teaspoons star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 medium parsnips, cut in 2-inch-chunks
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 lb beef sirloin
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup hot chili sauce
- 1 lb rice noodles (1/4-inch wide (or banh pho))
- 1/2 cup nuoc nam (Vietnamese fish-sauce)
- to taste black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 2 fresh chili peppers, sliced
- 2 limes, cut in wedges
- 1 bunch of fresh mint
- 1 bunch fresh Asian basil or 1 bunch regular basil
- Soak bone overnight in cold water.
- Place bones, oxtails and flank steak in a large stock pot. Add SALTED BOILING water to cover and bring to a boil. Better yet, boil water, add salt then add bones. Marinate oxtails and flank steak with fish sauce, sugar, black pepper.
- Cook 5 minutes, drain and rinse pot and bones.
- Return bones to pot, add 6 quarts COLD WATER and bring to a boil. Skim surface of scum and fat. Stir bones at bottom. After 1 hour of simmering, add oxtails & flank steak.
- The ginger root, shallots, and onion need to be roasted. The ginger root until the outer layer peels off easily. The onion until outer layer is semi-burnt. About 3 min. Roast the anise seeds in a pan for 2 min. Add to broth while waiting to boil.
- Meanwhile, slice beef sirloin against grain into paper-thin slices, about 2-by-2 inches. Slice flank steak the same way; that is after they are cooked for about 1 hour.
- Set aside. In a small bowl, combine scallions, cilantro, and half the sliced onions.
- Place remaining onions in another bowl and mix in hot chili sauce. Soak rice noodles in water. When broth is ready, discard bones.
- Strain broth through a colander lined with a double layer of damp cheesecloth into a clean pot. Add fish sauce and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer.
- In another pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.
- Add noodles and drain immediately.
- Do not overcook noodles