May 28, 2021 4 min read
You're going to love this recipe for Beef Pho! It's a rich and hearty Vietnamese soup that is perfect comfort food for any time of year. The dish has layers of flavor from ginger, star anise, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Add rice noodles for a traditional version or mix it up and go ramen style as you make your own delicious bowl of pho!
This delicious Beef Pho recipe is from guest blogger Jon Bennion @intermediatechef.
Being born and raised in Montana means I likely didn’t hear of Vietnamese beef pho until my late 20’s, and I’m sure I mispronounced it (it’s pronounced “fuh”). If you’ve never experienced this amazing dish, my best description is a flavorful bone-beef broth with rice noodles and fresh condiments and veggies. I have developed a hybrid of this that incorporates a few Japanese elements like homemade ramen noodles that I call “pho-men,” but it still leans more towards the unique flavors in pho like lime, star anise, cinnamon, cilantro and other fun ingredients.
The most authentic pho broth recipes often give directions for very large quantities and can sometimes use ingredients that you may not see in Western kitchens. There are also some super basic recipes out there that use canned broth and eliminate many of the key ingredients for a more authentic pho experience. This version is an achievable, intermediate level pho broth that will give you a great flavor even if you live far from a Vietnamese restaurant. It does likely require a small investment for your spice cabinet, but those can be found in any grocery store these days.
Intermediate Chef Beef Pho Recipe (serves 4)
Toast your spices (cardamon, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and coriander) in your stock pot for 4-5 on medium heat stirring every minute. Remove the spices and set aside. Add a tbsp of vegetable oil to the pot and sauté the onions and ginger to get some browning. On the short ribs only, remove the meat from the bones and refrigerate the meat. To the stock pot, add the can of broth, water, garlic, salt, spices, sugar, soy sauce/fish sauce, beef ribs, and the bones from the short ribs. Add the jalapenos if you want a spicier broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the stock pot leaving a small crack in the lid. Simmer for roughly three hours, or until the meat on the beef ribs is tender. Taste for seasoning levels and adjust for your tastes. Take out the beef ribs and trim the meat off and slice thinly. Remove the solids from the broth using a fine mesh strainer (could also use a cheese cloth in addition to the strainer for a super clear broth).
At this point, it’s time to assemble your pho. There are traditional ingredients that are used tasty partners for the pho, such as rice noodles, bean sprouts, cilantro or basil, onion, green chili, and more. But I take a little more of a choose-your-own-adventure approach using some of the traditional ingredients and others that lean more towards ramen.
I like to make my own ramen noodle, but whatever kind of noodle you choose, you should cook them separately, drain the water, and then add the hot broth and toppings. You don’t want to cook the noodles in the broth itself because it thickens it and makes it cloudy. The short rib meat I talked about earlier should go in the freezer for a half hour to harden the outside. With a very sharp knife, cut super thin slices of the meat against the grain. These raw meat slivers will go in the bowl with the noodles and get cooked when you pour the SUPER HOT broth over it. The tender, melt-in-your-mouth short rib meat might be my favorite part of this dish. You should also add that meat from the broth that was also sliced thin.
I added some sautéed mushrooms, colorful peppers, cilantro, chopped scallion, and lime slices to add some acid to the picture. But you do you. The traditional version is awesome, and you can also tweak it to your own preferences while giving a thankful nod to the folks in Vietnam who made this tasty dish.
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