This iconic Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup or Pho Bo is probably one of the most well-known noodles to come from Vietnam. It features succulent medium rare beef slices on top of the pho or noodles, together with some wonderfully fresh veggies and herbs that bring a fresh balance to the tasty and nutritious soup.
The exact history of these noodles is not certain, as beef is not commonly part of Vietnamese cuisine. Some people believe that it was probably a fusion dish, influenced by the French colonialists. However, the Pho Bo is considered one of Vietnam's sacred national dishes.
- 2 lb beef bones
- 1 lb beef brisket or rump
- 1 old ginger root, 6 inch long
- 1 peeled large onion
- 4 star anise
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick, 4 inch long
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 rock sugar, 1 inch or 1 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground peppercorn
- 10 cups water
- Other Ingredients
- ½ lb thinly sliced raw beef sirloin
- 8 oz dried banh pho noodles
- 1 thinly sliced medium onion, soaked in water for 20 minutes
Preparing the Beef Stock
Boil the beef bones together with the beef brisket or rump in a pot of water. After the water comes to the boil, allow it to continue boiling for 3 minutes, then pour away the water and flush the beef bones and the brisket or rump under water, making sure that all the impurities are washed away.
Pour 10 cups of water in over the beef bones and beef brisket or rump, and bring it to the boil again. When the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to the smallest possible flame and allow it to simmer. Remove any scum that rises to the top of the soup.
Ginger and Onion for the Beef Stock
Crush the ginger with a pestle and mortar, leaving it in one piece. The back of a big knife will do the job just as well. Grill the ginger and onion until they turn slightly brown and smell fragrant.
Cooking the rest of the Stock
Add the ginger and onion into the simmering pot of beef stock. Make sure all the scum from the beef has been removed from the stock before you do so. Add the star anise, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorn into the stock. Keep simmering the stock on very low heat.
Preparing the noodles
In a separate pot, boil the noodles for about 5 minutes, until al dante. Remove and rinse with cold water. Be careful not to overcook the noodles because when you ladle in the hot soup the noodles will cook a little bit more.
Simmer and Serve
- Continue simmering the soup for about 1 hour. Remove the beef brisket or rump from the stock. Soak them in cold water for 15 minutes, so that they remain moist and retain their color after they cool.
- Allow the soup to keep simmering for another 2 hours.
- Strain the soup through a fine sieve.
- Bring the soup back to a boil, then turn the heat down to low.
- Add the fish sauce, salt and sugar into the stock. Adjust the taste to your liking by varying the amounts of these ingredients. Bear in mind that the noodles will reduce the saltiness of the soup.
- Slice the beef brisket or rump into thin slices.
- In a bowl, put some noodles, slices of the cooked beef brisket or rump, the raw beef sirloin and raw onions on top. Pour the boiling soup into the bowl, making sure that the raw pieces of beef are cooked to a medium rare state.
- Serve with the Vietnamese Side Salad and enjoy!