Thread: Pho
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:16 AM
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Default Pho

As requested in an IM.

The recipe comes from here and there are pictures and video, as well as more in-depth descriptions of the why are they doing this questions you may have.


Broth (make a day ahead)
5 to 6 pounds of beef knuckles or leg bones
6 quarts cold water
2 medium onions, quartered
4-inch piece of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
6 star anise
6 whole cloves
1 black cardamom pod (you can use green if you can't find black)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup good quality fish sauce
1-inch piece yellow rock sugar or about 1 Tbsp packed of palm sugar

Pho Assembly
1 pound small (1/8-inch wide) dried or fresh “banh pho” noodles (see notes
1/2 pound raw tenderloin, eye of round, sirloin or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (see note)
1/4 cup thinly sliced onions (soaked in ice water, drained to remote harshness) or sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Enoki and/or beech mushrooms, oprional
Baby (and I do mean baby, like 3-4 inches long at most) bok choy, sliced thinly, optional

Garnish at table, optional
Sprigs of fresh mint and/or Asian/Thai basil
Bean sprouts
Thinly sliced red chilies (such as Thai bird)
Lime wedges
Fish sauce
Hoisin sauce



*Make this a day ahead so it can be refrigerated overnight.*

Char the quartered onions and halved ginger on a foil-covered baking sheet under the broiler on high for 10 -15 minutes, turning occasionally so that they evenly char.

Place cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves and the black cardamom pod into a small frying pan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until fragrant, About 5 minutes. Cool slightly, then place toasted spices into a cotton muslin bag or a square of cheesecloth and tightly tie with butchers twine to form a bundle.

Meanwhile, in a very large pot, 10+ quarts, place bones (see notes) and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat for 3-5 minutes. Drain, discarding the water. Scrub and rinse bones under running water to remove any of the scum/impurities residue (but don't remove any attached meat/gristle, just get the "gunk" off), then scrub pot to remove any stuck-on residue. Place the bones back in the pot and cover with 6 quarts of cold water.

Bring the parboiled bones and water to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer. Add the charred onion and ginger, as well as the bag or sachet of toasted spices. Then, add 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt, 1/4 cup of fish sauce and the sugar. Simmer broth, uncovered, for 3 hours. Skim off any foam that forms from time to time.

Cool broth. Remove bones, onion and ginger with tongs or a slotted spoon, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. The broth will have a layer of fat at the the top. Refrigerate the broth overnight so the fat will layer and solidify, then remove and discard.


Bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat.

Prepare the noodles as below in notes. Place enough noodles in each bowl to fill about 1/3.

Arrange slices of raw meat into bowls, mushrooms and bok choy if using, and then top with the hot broth. Finish broth with onion/green onion slices and cilantro. Serve bowls with a plate of optional garnishes listed above.


Go to an Asian market to buy the bones. They are much cheaper and the butchers always seem to happily cut them for you. I buy enough for 1-1/2 to 2 recipes since it takes so long to make, then label and freeze for later use. Of course, you will be limited as to how much you can make by the size of your biggest pot. When you simmer bones they release impurities. You want your broth to be nice and clear. I start out by rinsing the raw bones well under running water to remove any bone dust from them being cut; then I proceed with instructions above.

You can find dried and usually fresh pho noodles at Asian markets. The dried will need to be soaked in very hot water for 15-20 minutes. The fresh may need to be cooked in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drained. See packaging for exact instructions. I've also used glass/cellophane noodles just because they were in the pantry. These need to be soaked as above before using.
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