If you enjoy Vietnamese cuisine and soups, you may want to learn how to make pho. This richly flavored and aromatic beef noodle soup contains plenty of fresh herbs and spices. Condiments make this soup even more unique, and allow you to customize each bowl of pho.
To make pho, you'll need:
- 6 quarts of water
- 2 onions, sliced in half
- 3-4" ginger, sliced in half
- 5 lbs. beef bones
- 1/2 lb. sirloin, round, or flank steak, sliced very thin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp. coriander
- 1 tbsp. fennel
- 5 star anise
- 1 cardamom pod
- 6 cloves
- 2 tbsp. salt
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 inch chunk of yellow rock sugar or 1 tbsp. white sugar
- 2 lbs. rice noodles
- Mesh bag or cheesecloth for the spices
- Optional condiments: Mint, cilantro, basil, lime wedges, onion slices, bean sprouts, chili peppers, or hot chili sauce
- Char the unpeeled, washed onions and ginger under a broiler or on top of a gas stove using tongs to hold them over the flame. If you char them in the oven, place them on a baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally. They will turn black on the outside, but this is what you want.
- Fill a pot with water, and add the beef bones. Bring them to a boil, and cook on high for about 10 minutes. Remove the bones and pour out the water. Refill and bring to a boil again. This removes scum from the bones.
- Lower the heat to a simmer. Combine your spices in a mesh bag or cheesecloth tied shut. Add them along with the charred ginger and onions, salt, sugar, and fish sauce. Simmer for 3 hours, skimming the top occasionally to remove any additional scum from the surface.
- Taste the broth. If it needs more flavor, add a little more fish sauce, salt, or sugar. When you're satisfied, strain the broth. You can do this a few times to be sure the pho broth is clear.
- Prepare your bowls by adding a few pieces of sliced raw steak to them. Prepare your rice noodles by soaking in hot water, according to directions on the package. Add a small amount to each bowl on top of the steak. Slice and chop your condiments, and place on a serving dish so each person can customize how they make pho.
- Ladle the broth over each bowl. The hot broth will cook the steak perfectly. Just make sure to slice it ultra thin. Garnish your pho with any condiments you wish. Enjoy!
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