how to cook Pho noodle soup
Pho noodle soup
Ingredients (8-12 servings)
For the broth:
1-3 kg beef bones (marrow and knuckle) = 2-7 lb, the more the merrier ^^
500g beef (outside flank, brisket or cross rib roast)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
For the PHO aroma:
2 pieces ginger (size of your thumb)
3 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2-3 black cardamom
1 medium onion (or 3 shallots)
Optional: 1 tsp cloves, 1 tsp coriander seeds
For the bowls:
1kg dried flat rice noodle “banh pho” (2lb dried or 4lb fresh noodle)
300g fresh beef, finely sliced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced paper-thin, left to soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water
4 spring onion, white part separated, green part chopped.
Asian/Thai basil (hung que),
Sawtooth herbs (ngo gai)
Lime wedges, blanched bean sprouts, hoisin sauce, siracha
Pho noodle soup
1. Cooking the broth
-Place beef bones to a pot of water and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 5-10 mins. The impurities will rise to the top. Then dump out the whole pot and rinse the bones well under running water. It is a very important step to keep the broth clear and it will save your time skimming off the scum later.
-Place the rinsed bones into a large clean pot filled with water, about 5 liters. (If you use the same pot, make sure you wash it before putting the bones back. It is crucial for a clear broth)
-Add 1 peeled onion, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar (white, brown or rock sugar are all ok). Bring to boil and simmer under medium low heat. Occasionally skim off the scum and the fat. Do not cover, otherwise the broth may lose its clarity.
2. Creating the aroma
-Slice ginger into 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick and cut the onion into halves.
-To bring out the aroma, “grill” onion, ginger slices, star anise, cinnamon sticks and black cardamoms directly on an open stove until slightly charred on both sides. You can also use oven for this step.
-Peel the onion and scrape off the charred part. Try to keep the stem and not let the onion layers fall apart. You can also rinse off the black char under warm running water. Wrap the small spices in a large tea bag or spice bag or cheese cloth. Add all of these spices imto the stock pot.
-Depending on the cut of beef, it might take 1-2 hours to cook. When the meat is cooked, transfer to a bowl of cold water for 10 mins to prevent the beef from drying up or turning dark in color. Drain the beef and slice thinly into bite size pieces. Also remove the onions, from pot because you don’t want them to break and make the broth less clear.
-Continue to cook the broth for a few more hours if you have time. (Traditional PHO can be cooked overnight!) If you cook the stock for more than 3 hours, add the charred onion and ginger only during the last hour, so that the aroma stays fresh and tempting in your soup bowl.
-Season to your taste with salt, fish sauce, sugar, seasoning powder.
3. Cooking the noodle:
-Soak dried flat rice noodle “banh pho” in water for 30 mins to soften. Blanch a handful of noodle in a sieve for 10 to 20 seconds. Remove the noodles when they are soft but still a bit chewy. Drain the banh pho completely of excess water. Serve immediately.
Pho noodle soup
Alternative: Boil the whole pack of dried noodle in a pot of water until soft and wash under cold running water. Then wash again under hot water. This way the noodles stay separated and do not clump.
4. Assembling the bowl:
Add cooked noodle to the bowl, place the beef (cooked beef or fresh raw beef, your choice!) on top, garnish with chopped onion and spring onion, ladle the hot soup over. Enjoy your own Pho noodle soup !