Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nunu's Kitchen - Pho tai

Food I make

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see that I'm quite a big fan of Pho, or Vietnamese beef noodle soup. There's just something about the bowl of MSG laden soup, the thin rare sliced beef, the chewy rice noodles, and all those extra garnishes that makes Pho the perfect cold weather meal.
I made this against the Pooker's wishes, he said it was way too much trouble for something that can be bought anywhere for $7 a bowl. I like a challenge so I tapped into my Vietnamese side. By the way, make this only if you have an entire day to spare. Pho broth needs at least 3 hours to simmer.

Phở tái

You will need:

  • Vietnamese rice noodles a.k.a. bánh phở
  • 1 large yellow onion - halved
  • Ginger - an approx 3" by 2" piece - halved
  • 2lbs beef knuckle bone with marrow - you might need to ask your butcher for this as it's not the normal fare.
  • 2lbs beef chuck bone in - cubed
  • 5 whole cloves - lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • 5 star anise - lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2lb sirloin steak - ask your butcher to use the slicer on number 10, you'll get approx 2-3mm thick slices.
  • Garnishes - Thai basil, chopped green onion, chopped coriander, bean spouts, chopped green chillies, and lime wedges.

La Methode:
  • Turn oven on to 450 degrees.
  • Place the beef bone and chuck into a pot with enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and let boil for approx 5 minutes. Throw out this parboil water. Rinse the bone and meat under running water if needed, you want to remove any impurities which might cloud the broth.
  • Fill a large stock pot with 3.5l water, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, place the beef bone and chuck inside, once this returns to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer.
  • Put the ginger and onion onto a baking tray and char them in the oven until skin blackens slightly.
  • Remove the ginger and onion, rub away the blackened skin, slightly bruise the ginger with the back of a knife and drop them into the broth.
  • Add fish sauce, salt, and sugar.
  • When the broth has simmered for approx 1 1/2hrs, add the star anise and cloves.
  • Simmer for a total of 3 hours, if possible, leave to sit over night. It should look like this:
  • To serve, soak the noodles in cold water for approx 10 mins, bring a pot of water to high boil, switch off the heat and drop in the pre-soaked noodles, cover pot with lid.
  • Test the noodles after approx 3-4 mins, they should still be slightly chewy, drain noodles and distribute them into warm bowls, layer rare sliced beef on top of noodles, sprinkle with chopped green onion and coriander.
  • Ladle enough beef broth into the bowls to cover the noodles, add a few pieces of the beef chuck, they'll be really tender and tasty.
  • Serve with Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges and green chillies.

This recipe makes enough broth for approx 6-8 servings, if you don't need this much broth, you can always freeze it and reheat when needed. 
My good friend Dao, knowledgeable in all things Vietnamese and chemical related, has recommended that I add daikon to the beef broth, she said this would add sweetness to the broth and that it has natural MSG xD.


  1. what a feat!!! i love pho but as your SO stated, I would rather pay $7 than make this myself.... :p i would rather pay $4 than make instant noodles myself.... but i digress....

  2. can i just say you make me CRAVE PHO when i dont even LIKE it!???

    this is ludicrous...

  3. Major props to you, girl! WOW. I'm of the camp that would rather pay for my Pho. =P

  4. this looks so good! i know what you mean, i tried making pho before too from scratch and boy it took long! it was good but as you said considering its only $7 I doubt I'll make it again. Asian food is so time consuming to make from scratch!

  5. Oh mi gosh this looks delicious *drool*!!! :)

  6. Pho is quite a challenge! Would you do it again? I don't think I have the patience or time to make it. :P

  7. Haha...yep, I saw the Toy Story trailer with Mr. Potato Head! Can't wait to check it out. =D

  8. Ahh.. I swear to you For the past week I've been looking on YT for recipes for Pho. I finally stumbled on one and it only took 3hrs to make.(very sarcastic) o.o It's very similar to your pho. VERY GOOD!!

    There's nothing more satisfying to me than seeing the happy faces of my kids telling me I'm the best cook in the world. I definitely would cook this over and over again for the memories and hoping one day that I could pass this on to my kids too.

    I love you for posting this!! Could you do more?!?

  9. Oooh, nice recipe! You should add beef balls next time!
    Making pho isn't hard for my mom because she makes the stock as a basic for a lot of her other viet dishes LOL. So it's almost always ready to use hahaha. But damn.. I sure hate scooping the dirty stuff that comes up for the first bit.. but yeah.. these things take forever to make!