Pho (pronounced "fahr") is a light, fragrant soup eaten for breakfast and all through the day. It is one of the Vietnamese’s most loved dishes. Pho is comfort food for chef Luke Nguyen, who demonstrates how to make pho in Hanoi. You might also like this vegan-friendly version.
The secret to this recipe lies in the quality of the stock – along with the beautiful spices.
- 2 onions
- 10 cm piece ginger
- 2½ kg beef soup bones
- 5 star anise
- 6 garlic cloves
- 8 cm piece cassia bark
- 450 g beef brisket or chuck steak
- 1½ tbsp salt
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) fish sauce
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 kg dried or fresh pho (rice stick) noodles
- 225 g beef sirloin, finely sliced across the grain
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 4 spring onions (scallions), green part only, finely sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped coriander
- black pepper
- lime wedges
- sliced chillies
- Thai basil or Vietnamese mint sprigs
- bean sprouts
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 15 minutes
To prepare the stock, sear the onions and ginger over a naked flame or under a grill for about 15 minutes. Remove any charred skin and set aside.
Place the bones in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook vigorously for 3 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the bones in warm water. Wipe out the pot, return the bones to it and add 6 litres water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Skim off any scum. Add the onion, ginger and remaining ingredients and cook for 1½ hours. When the meat is cooked (slightly chewy but not tough), remove it and set aside in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and refrigerate. Leave the broth to cook for a further 1½ hours. Strain and refrigerate. Skim off the fat when cold.
To serve, reheat the stock. Thinly slice the cold meat. If using dried noodles, soak in hot water for 15â€“20 minutes, until soft. If using fresh noodles, briefly heat them in boiling water. Arrange the noodles in the bases of deep serving bowls and add slices of cooked meat and raw sirloin on top. Garnish with onion, spring onion and coriander. Season with pepper. Ladle over the hot stock.
To eat pho, taste the broth first, then add lime juice and chilli to taste followed by generous amounts of basil or mint and beansprouts.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgina Larby. Creative concept by Belinda So.
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