You don't have to know me for long to realize that pho (pronounced "fuh") is one of my favorite foods. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup that is served with fresh and aromatic herbs. My dad has been making this Vietnamese treat for us since we were kids, just like his mom used to make for him and his siblings. This soup has undoubtedly become one of the most desired dishes our dad makes, and eventually taught us how to make.
My family and I will often catch up with one another over a bowl of pho on what we have dubbed “Pho Fridays.” This has become such a monumental dish in our family, and I look forward to passing on the tradition. I hope my Dad’s pho recipe will help to start some new food memories for you and yours!
Recipe developed by Kiet Nguyen
One 4- to 5-inch piece of ginger, peeled and smashed
½ cup five spice, dry toasted
2 white onions, peeled and charred until edges are blackened
1 large daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch rounds
5 lbs. beef soup bones (shank, oxtail, various cuts)
Enough water to fill a large stock pot (at least 2 gallons)
For each bowl of pho:
1 cup thin rice noodles, cooked (we use the noodles labeled “small” that are thinner than linguine, but thicker than angel hair pasta)
½ cup bean sprouts
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 thin slices of white onion
1 tablespoon Thai basil leaves
One lime wedge, juice
Sliced jalapenos, to taste
2-3 ounces beef eye round, thinly sliced*
- Place the smashed ginger and five spice into a spice sachet or make your own out of cheesecloth. Make sure to tie this tightly so neither ingredient spills out.
- In a large stock pot, simmer all stock ingredients over medium-low heat for at least 8 hours, overnight is best. Make sure to keep skimming the stock of any debris that will form at the top. Removing this “soup scum” will help in yielding a very clear, flavorful stock.
- Assemble each bowl of pho according to the list above. Feel free to leave out any of the herbs you may not like. *Tip for slicing the eye round: Freeze the beef for about an hour so it’s easier to slice it super thin.
- After stock has simmered for at least 8 hours, bring it to a rolling simmer (just before boiling). Ladle the hot stock over each bowl of pho. The stock is hot enough to cook the thinly sliced beef, but it will still be tender.
- Eat the pho piping hot with the typical condiments of hoisin sauce, Sriracha, and/or fish sauce/soy sauce. You can make it as spicy as you want or enjoy it on its own!