For those of you who aren’t familiar with pho (pronounced “fuh”), it is a classic Vietnamese soup that consists of a slow cooked beef broth along with a plethora of accoutrements such as bean sprouts, herbs, sriracha, and limes, to name just a few. Slices of meat are placed in bowls of the hot flavorful broth where they gently cook. This soup is a life changer for sure. I had only had it in restaurants and decided to figure out a way to make it at home. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and I added a couple of my own twists to it, hence the “faux” pho. Also, I couldn’t resist an adorable play on words. Sorry.
- 2 onions, halved
- 4″ piece of ginger, halved lengthwise
- 5-6 lbs. beef bones (marrow, leg, knuckle)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbs coriander seeds
- 1 tbs fennel seeds
- 5 whole star anise
- 3 cardamom pods
- 6 whole cloves
- 1/2 tbs kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 2 lbs rice noodles
- a handful of cilantro and basil
- 2 handfuls of bean sprouts
- 1/2 lb. london broil or sirlon, sliced thinly as possible
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- 2-3 red Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
- sriracha hot sauce
Set the broiler on high and move the rack to the highest spot in the oven. Place the ginger and onions on a baking sheet and broil until they start to char. Use patience and wait until you see black. Don’t worry, it tastes wonderful in the broth. This could take 10-15 minutes.
If you have difficulty finding the bones, ask the butcher at the grocery store to help you.
Fill a large pot with cold water and add the bones. Bring to a boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the bones and rinse out the pot. This removes impurities from the bones/meat. Refill the pot with the bones and 6 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to a simmer. Add the charred ginger and onion, spices (you can put the spices in a cheesecloth pouch or tea ball for easier removal later on), sugar, fish sauce, and salt and simmer uncovered for 3 hours, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. Strain the broth and return the broth to the pot. Add the miso paste. Taste broth and adjust seasoning. This step is important!! If the broth’s flavor isn’t quite right yet, add a couple teaspoons of fish sauce and a pinch of salt and another tablespoon of sugar. Keep doing this until it tastes perfect.
Place the meat in the freezer for 15 minutes to help make the slicing easier. Slice the meat as thinly as possible. Arrange all the other ingredients on a plate, as each person assembles their own soup. There are many different sizes and widths of rice noodles available, and you can use whichever suits your taste. My preference is the thin spaghetti type rice noodles. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
Bring your broth back to a boil and line up bowls next to the pot. Add the cooked rice noodles and raw meat slices to the bowls and ladle the broth on top. Serve immediately.
*note: the broth can be frozen for up to six months for later use