If you love pho soup so much and have always wanted to make it at home but felt like it might be too hard. FEAR NOT! Not only making this soup super easy – the flavor is spot on!
Making this Vietnamese noodle soup at home is easier than you might think.
You guys know that I'm always on the quest for recipes that capture true authentic flavor. I want it to be so good that it tastes like it came straight from bà's kitchen.
I used the recipe featured in Eat Real Vietnamese Food by Lien Nguyen. Lien's recipe is an easy pho recipe. It takes time but the steps are super simple.
This cookbook is a collection of traditional Vietnamese recipes that are fantastic! I highly recommend picking up a copy.
I love finding recipes that make me feel like I have an inside seat in someone's family kitchen. This book definitely checks that box.
What is Pho?
If you're asking this, then you may never have had a bowl of beef pho.
What you're going to love about this soup!
- Authentic Flavor: The flavor of the broth is exactly how it should be.
- Healthy: Beef broth and veggies. What could be better for you?
- Comforting: a steaming bowl of Pho noodle soup is one of the most comforting soups. Whenever it's cold out side, I've go to have it.
- Easy: Making phó at home is really easy. It's as simple as making a rich stock with the perfect aromatic and then adding some rice noodles.
Pho is all about the broth. Having a flavorful beef broth is essential to making sure that that this soup is delicious. Pho is such a simple thing to make, but there are a few techniques that you'll need to make it perfect!
What you'll need
Pho ingredients are pretty simple:
The foundation of this traditional Vietnamese soup is a stock made from either short ribs or beef knucklebones. The aromatic spices are what then give phó it's distinctive flavor.
For the pho broth:
- Beef Bones: I chose to use knucklebones but you can also use short ribs. Or even a combination of both. Have the butcher 'crack' them for you. They will know what you mean.
- Aromatics: White onions, cilantro, ginger, and fresh scallions.
- Spices: Star anise, black cardamom, cinnamon sticks
- Fish Sauce: Vietnamese food has signature umami that is usually imparted with fish sauce. choose a high-quality fish sauce like Red Boat or Suchi.
Optional: You can also add in brisket. Pho can be served with rare steak, and/or brisket. Sometimes I order both.
Pho is typically served with thin rice noodles. At the pho place near me, you can also order it with egg noodles.
You will see rice sticks in the Asian section of the grocery store. They are sometimes called rice vermicelli or rice sticks.
I like to use the thin rice sticks but you can also use a medium or wide noodle.
All the fixin's:
Phó is typically served with a helping of bean sprouts, fresh Thai basil, lime wedges, and jalapeños on the side. These fresh veggies are added to your bowl of soup as you eat it. Yum!
Although it is debated whether or not this is traditional, for me an absolutely necessary part of eating phó is the inclusion of an obscene amount of Sriracha Hot Sauce.
I like my pho broth bright orange with sriracha and my lips burning. Of course, this is personal preference.
How to make pho
Phó should have a nice clear broth that tastes clean and fresh while offering a rich beef flavor that is infused with subtle spices.
- Start by setting up a large stockpot. Add the bones and the brisket, if you are using it.
- Cover with 5 quarts of water.
- Add in the onions.
- Bring to a boil.
- Skim off the scum as the broth is cooking.
Assembling a bowl of pho
The thinly sliced steak is cooked in the steaming hot broth. I've found the best cuts of steak to use for pho tai are beef filet or sirloin.
The steaming hot broth cooks the steak to a rare to medium-rare temperature.
Raw beef that is sliced exceptionally thin is added to the bowl along with a few sliced onions.
PRO-TIP: To slice extra thin steak, freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before slicing. Freezing firms up the meat and makes it easy to slice paper thin.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Pho is pronounced as FA.
YES. Pho is a nutrient-rich soup made of bone broth, lean beef or chicken, and fresh vegetables.
Ramen is typically made with a rich pork broth and egg noodle. Pho is made with a clear beef or chicken bone broth and rice noodles.
Pho Tai is the version of Pho that contains beef broth and rare steak.
I'm a true believer in the magical healing properties of soup – Especially Chicken Noodle Soup.
Phó Gá (chicken pho) is one of my favorite versions of chicken noodle soup. Once you give the traditional beef version a try, the chicken version should be next on your list.
More of my favorite Asian Noodle Recipes and Sides
Spicy Shrimp Noodle Bowls
Homemade Phó Tai (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
- 2 lbs Braising Beef Short Ribs, Beef Knuckle, or Oxtail
- 3.75 quarts filtered water 15 cups
- 5 large Onions peeled, left whole
- 1 bunch Cilantro stalks and leaves divided
- 1 4 inch piece Fresh Ginger
- bunch Scallions
- Bean Sprouts
- Chili Pepper
- Add braising beef to a large stock pot and cover with water.
- Add 4 of the peeled onions and the cilantro stalks.
- Bring to a boil. Maintain heat at a vigorous boil. This allows the scum to come to the surface.
- Skim off the top of the broth to ensure that is stays clear.
- Once there is no more scum coming to the topic reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 hours.
- Place the aromatics, the star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger in a cloth or cheese cloth bag so that they can be easily removed later.
- Let the aromatics steep in the simmering broth unit the flavors are infused into the broth. Let the aromatics steep according to taste. Don't let the flavors get too strong.
- Cook the rice sticks according to directions. Set aside.
- Freeze beef for about an hour. Slice thinly.
- Thinly slice beef can be cooked in hot broth before serving or immedietely before.
- Slice remaining onion into thin slices. Add to bowl immediately before adding hot broth.