Vietnamese beef pho recipe

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The biggest selling point of this famous soup is its killer broth a beefy, fragrant, faintly sweet concoction produced by simmering beef bones and water, along with ginger, onions, cinnamon, and star anise, for hours. For a streamlined version, we enhanced store-bought broth with convenient ground beef. Parboiling the beef before making the broth ensured our final soup was free of scum. Onion, fresh ginger, fish sauce, and warm spices gave the broth dimension. To serve, we ladled the hot broth over tender rice noodles and thin slices of strip steak. Look for rice noodles that are about ⅛ inch wide; these are often labeled “small.” Do not use Thai Kitchen Stir-Fry Rice Noodles; they are too thick and don’t adequately soak up the broth.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • Total Time: 2 Hours


  • 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 2 onions, quartered through root end
  • 12 cups beef broth
  • ¼ cup fish sauce, plus extra for serving
  • 1 (4-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for seasoning
  • 6 star anise pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 (1-pound) boneless strip steak, trimmed and halved
  • 14–16 ounces (⅛-inch-wide) rice noodles
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin (optional)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fresh Thai or Italian basil sprigs
  • Lime wedges
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha sauce
How to Make It
  1. Break ground beef into rough 1-inch chunks in Dutch oven. Add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring mixture to boil over high heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain ground beef in colander and rinse well under running water. Return ground beef to now-empty pot.
  2. Add 6 onion quarters to pot with ground beef. Slice remaining 2 onion quarters as thin as possible and set aside for garnish. Add broth, 2 cups water, fish sauce, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, star anise, cloves, 2 teaspoons salt, and peppercorns to pot and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
  3. Pour broth through colander set in large bowl. Discard solids. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer lined with triple thickness of cheesecloth; add water as needed to equal 11 cups. Return broth to now-empty pot and season with extra sugar and salt (broth should taste overseasoned). Cover and keep warm over low heat.
  4. While broth simmers, place steak on large plate and freeze until very firm, 35 to 45 minutes. Once firm, cut against grain into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Return steak to plate and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Place noodles in large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Soak until noodles are pliable, 10 to 15 minutes; drain noodles. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add drained noodles and cook until almost tender, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain immediately and divide noodles among individual bowls.
  6. Bring broth to rolling boil. Divide steak among individual bowls, shingling slices on top of noodles. Pile reserved onion slices on top of steak slices and sprinkle with cilantro and scallions, if using. Ladle hot broth into each bowl. Serve immediately, passing bean sprouts, basil sprigs, lime wedges, hoisin, Sriracha, and extra fish sauce separately.

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