Vietnamese Recipes

Spicy Steve's Vietnamese Recipes

Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup with Beef

(Pho Tai)

This is the soup that symbolizes Vietnam. You will find Pho noodle houses not only all over Vietnam but also any major North American city with a large Vietnamese community like Vancouver. Good pho should have a clear broth with a bold beefy flavour, a hint of star anise, good quality meat, noodles cooked just right and a plate of fresh herbs, chillies, lime, bean sprouts and sauces to accompany it. “Pho” is the common beef stock soup base and “tai” describes the lean beef slices served in it raw that you separate with your chopsticks to let cook in the piping hot soup broth. Pho is also served with other cuts of beef. Pho is a complete meal that you build your own way by adding only the extras that you like.

Soup Stock Ingredients for 6 main course servings:

- 5 lb beef marrow bones or similar
- 2 lb beef flank or chuck cut into pieces
- 2 “3 inch” pieces of ginger cut in half lengthwise, bruised (smashed with a pestle or flat of a knife) and lightly charred over a flame
- 3 yellow onions, peeled and charred lightly over a flame
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 3 ounces rock sugar or 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 10 whole star anise, lightly dry roasted in a skillet
- 6 cloves, lightly dry roasted in a skillet
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 24 cups/6 quarts water for stock

Ingredients to cook in soup:

- 1 lb dried rice stick noodles (smaller size), soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
- 1/3 lb beef sirloin, slightly frozen, then sliced paper thin across the grain


- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced paper thin
- 3 green onions, cut into thin rings
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lb bean sprouts
- 10 sprigs Thai Basil
- 6 Thai Bird’s eye red chillies or 1 Serrano, cut into rings
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Hoisin sauce and Chilli sauce for dipping meat into

1. Add beef bones and beef flank to a stockpot and cover with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate large stockpot, bring to a boil 24 cups of water. Transfer the bones to this second stockpot after completion of boiling and discard the water from the first pot. This process cleans the bones and reduces excess solids that will cloud the broth. When the water in the second stockpot with the bones comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Skim off any excess solids or fat. Meanwhile, peel and discard the charred outer skins of the ginger and onions and then them rinse off. Add charred ginger, charred onions, fish sauce and sugar. Continue to simmer for approximately 1 ½ hours.

2. Add star anise and cloves wrapped in a piece of cheese cloth to infuse the broth for about 40 minutes. Remove and discard the star anise, cloves charred onions, charred ginger and bones. Add salt and continue to simmer. Bring to a boil just before serving.

3. Prepare separate pot with boiling water to cook noodles. Immerse individual servings of noodles one at a time in a sieve into the boiling water for about 15 - 20 seconds. They should be soft but still chewy. Transfer to individual bowls. Place a few slices of raw beef on top of the noodles and pour over boiling soup stock – about 2 -3 cups per portion.
The broth will cook the raw beef instantly. Add garnish of yellow onion, green onion and cilantro.
Serve immediately allowing guests to add their own bean sprouts, herbs, chillies, lime and black pepper.
In side dipping  dishes, guest can mix Hoisin sauce and chilli sauce to their own liking to dip their beef pieces in.