Pho is sold as a street food and served in restaurants all over Vietnam. And it’s eaten at all times of day, like western folks might grab a burger. It’s the unofficial National Dish and comes in as many variations as there are cooks who prepare it. And you’ll hack your own version quickly!
This iconic soup is traditionally made with thinly-sliced Beef though Chicken and Vegetarian variants are becoming more popular as Pho becomes more mainstream. As you’ll see, it’s no accident that Noodle Soup is a staple of nearly all Asian cuisines…
What you need…
For the Broth:
1.5 qt. / 1.5 L Unsalted Beef Stock/Broth
2 tbsp. / 30 ml Nam Pla (Fish Sauce)
2 whole Star Anise
3 whole Cloves
2 tsp. / 5 ml Cinnamon
2 tsp. / 10 ml Ginger
2 tsp. / 10 ml Salt
1 tsp. / 10 ml Sugar
For the Basic Bowl:
Enough dry Rice Noodles for 4 servings, Angel’s Hair or ‘Rice Stick’ (1/4 in. / 1 cm Flat)
1 lb. / 450-500 g Beef, sliced thinly and cut into 4 in. x 1 in. / 10 cm x 2.5 cm strips
1 medium Sweet Onion, sliced very thinly
1/2 cup / 125 ml Green Onions, green part only, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup / 125 ml Cilantro, coarsely chopped
For the Garnish platter (shared):
A small bowl of Hot (Thai) Chilies, chopped finely
A handful of well-washed Bean Sprouts
Additional chopped Cilantro
Freshly-cracked Black Pepper
What you do…
In a small frying pan, char the slices of Sweet Onion, but do not burn! Set aside until it’s time to assemble the Pho bowls.
In a large bowl, soak the Noodles in cold water until they become flexible and turn milky-white translucent. Drain, separate into 4 equal servings in 4 large soup bowls and set aside.
Top each serving of Noodles with several slices of the Beef and add a generous amount of Green Onions, Sweet Onions and the Chopped Cilantro.
Next, bring the Broth ingredients to a spirited boil in a sauce pan. Pour stock over the Noodles and Beef to quick-poach the Beef and veggies, and finish cooking the noodles.
Diners may top off their bowls with their choice of the the Garnishes, as desired.
And there you have it…
The mysteries of Pho revealed! It’s simple and quick to make – like all authentic street foods – and you’ll want to experiment with other Asian ingredients and spices within the basic Pho ‘technique’.
Once you get the hang of making Pho, try eating it the authentic way, with Chop Sticks!
~ Maggie J.