Life is too short to eat bad soups. Apparently this is a Vietnamese saying and we cannot think of another country which could know better. Vietnam and pho belongs together just like France and baguette. This traditional rice noodle soup (with beef or chicken) originated in the northern city Hanoi and is eaten within the whole of Vietnam. Usually as breakfast or late-night snack. The key to a good pho certainly is the broth. This might also be why cooking it properly takes up to 10 hours. Cooking your own pho is a highly satisfying experience – so go ahead and give it a try. We were taught how to cheat a little while cooking the Hanoi style pho. So it will not take too long.
Recipe for 6 Portions
Want to get to know more about Hanoi? Make sure to read our post about this wonderful and buzzing city.
Wash the BEEF BONE in warm water and cook it for 8-10 hours on low heat to create a nice beef stock. Do not cover. Use 5 liters of water and refill if necessary. Make sure to skim the broth from time to time. Note: To speed up the cooking process and still create a great taste you can add some dried squid to the broth during step 3 (this reduces the cooking time of the beef bone to 3-4 hours). Instead of cooking the beef stock yourself you could also use beef stock powder. We recommend to also add the dried squid in this case and you may skip step 2.
Take out the BEEF BONE and make sure there is no more scum on top of the broth. Strain the broth to remove all the solids and return the clear broth to the pot. Make it boil again.
Toast the CINNAMON, CARDAMOM and STAR ANISES in a pan without adding any oil. It is ok if the ingredients burn a little. Normally this will be done over a flame (in case you own a gas stove – give it a try). Grill the GINGER and the SHALLOTS as well. Smash the SHALLOTS afterwards. Give everything a gentle wash so the burned parts will be removed. Then put all the ingredients in the stock. You can use a small wire basket to do so, this will make it easier to take them out in the end. Also add the BEEF SIRLOIN to the stock and let everything cook for 2 hours. Once the beef is well-done take it out, let it cool and cut in thin slices. Also take out the other ingredients.
Slice the raw BEEF TENDERLOIN in thin slices as well. Put aside.
Season the stock with SALT, CHICKEN STOCK POWDER and FISH SAUCE.
Cut the white part of the SPRING ONIONS into pieces of 5 to 10 cm and chop the green in small pieces. Cut the MINT and CORIANDER in 1 cm and mix it with the green spring onion. Cut the LIME in quarters and slice the CHILI.
Blanch the RICE NOODLES quickly in boiling water until done. Rinse with cold water and drain.
Time to serve! Put some RICE NOODLES on the bottom of a bowl. Add the mixture of green SPRING ONIONS, CORIANDER and MINT. Then add some boiled BEEF SIRLOIN and some raw sliced BEEF TENDERLOIN. Pour in the boiling beef stock and garnish with some PEPPER, BEAN SPROUTS and white SPRING ONIONS. Squeeze in some LIME JUICE or add some sliced CHILI and CHILI SAUCE if you like.