What the Phở … Phở Show… Phở Shizzle… Phở King… Vietnamese restaurants just can’t seem to resist a pun! But with phở being Vietnam’s most popular imported dish, restaurants need to differentiate themselves from the competition. As delicious as this noodle soup is, it’s actually incredibly easy to make. I have made 2 beef broths – easy and super easy. The easy version involves making your own broth from beef bones, and the super easy version starts with boxed beef broth.
Beef phở usually consists of beef broth, thin slices of beef, flat rice noodles, fish sauce, and fresh herbs. Broths typically are seasoned with star anise, cinnamon, roasted ginger and onion, coriander, cardamom, fennel seed, and clove (although you honestly can get away with just ginger, onion, and star anise). Other extras can include meatballs, tendon, or tripe. Fresh garnishes are very popular in southern Vietnamese variations like chili peppers, bean sprouts, green onions, lime or lemon, and herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro. Northern style phở is usually more limited to green onions, and lemon or lime. Hot chili sauce and hoison sauce can also be added to taste.
Having made phở with homemade broth and the boxed stuff, I decided to share the boxed broth version because when I want a comforting bowl of noodles, I want it as soon as possible and I’m sure you do too.
Beef Phở (Yield: 4 servings)
2 quarts of beef broth
2” piece of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
4 star anise
1 roughly crushed cardamom pod
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp sugar
2 ½ tsp salt
2T fish sauce
Additions to Broth:
½ to 1 pound of sliced paper thin beef ribeye (raw)
1 pound package of dried or fresh banh phở noodles
½ pound of bean sprouts
1 cup mushrooms
½ to 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ to 1 cup fresh basil leaves
½ to 1 cup fresh mint leaves
2-4 Thai chili peppers or 2-4 jalapeno peppers (sliced thin)
8 lime wedges (about 2 limes)
Hot chili sauce and hoison sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roast unpeeled onion and ginger in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, peel skin off onions and ginger.
- Create sachet of spices. Pour beef broth in a large pot. Add roasted onion and ginger, sachet of spices, sugar, and salt to broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours.
- Remove sachet, onion, and ginger from broth and discard. Add fishsauce.
- Adjust broth to taste with additional salt, sugar, and/or fishsauce.
- Reheat broth as necessary so broth boiling when ready to serve.
- Prepare rice noodles according to package. After noodles are done, rinse with cold water to prevent the noodles from continuing to cook.
- Divide noodles into bowls. Place raw slices of meat atop the noodles. Add bean sprouts add desired.
- Ladle boiling broth evenly over the bowl of noodles. The hot broth will cook the thin meat slices.
- Serve with optional additions/garnishes.