I could write love poems for you. I knew before I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City that I loved Noodle soups. Having spent a month in Thailand prior to that wetted my appetite already to try different types of soups all across Asia. I’m also a massive fan of Japanese Ramen.
Little did I know that Pho was quickly going to be one of my favourite foods ever. The amazing thing about Pho is (and Vietnamese food in general, for that matter), that it is very low in calories and because it is prepared with rice noodles, also makes a fantastic option for gluten free meals. You can substitute the beef for some veggies to make it a Vegetarian option – or for chicken if you prefer it.
What you need
For the broth:
2 large onions
a few pieces of fresh ginger
2 whole cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1.5 l of beef broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
500g sirloin steak cut in strips
250g dried rice noodles (bahn pho)
1 chili pepper
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup fresh herbs (coriander, basil, mint)
- Peel the onions and ginger and cut it into pieces. Heat up some oil in a pan and fry it until the onions become golden.
- In a casserole type pan, dry roast the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and coriander – only for about 1-2 min and make sure not to burn them. Keep stirring while you heat the spices!
- Now add the broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, chopped carrots, onions and ginger to the pan with the spices. Mix well. Bring the broth mixture to boil – then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30min.
- In the meantime, cut the beef in thin stripes (you can also freeze the beef for 15min to make it easier to cut it).
- Prepare the noodles according to packet instructions in a separate saucepan. Usually you just cook them for 1-4min depending on their thickness. Then strain and run them under cold water. Divide them immediately into the separate serving bowls, otherwise they will stick together. You can also add a little bit of neutral tasting oil to prevent this.
- Prepare your herb platter: Slice the chilli peppers and scallions; cut the lime into wedges; roughly chop the herbs; add the bean sprouts. All of these will be added to your Pho according to your taste. A little bit of each and generally a lot of herbs.
- Strain the broth and discard the solid spices floating in it. Place the broth back over low heat and let it simmer (not too hot – but needs to be fairly hot as to be able to cook the beef).
- Prepare your soup bowls by placing equal amounts of noodles into each bowl – add the uncooked beef on top. Fill up the bowls with the hot broth (the beef now changes colour and cooks in the broth).
- Add your bean sprouts, herbs and chilli. Once you finished eating your noodles and beef, drink the broth.