Pho

I’m positive that most all of you food lovers out there in the blogosphere have enjoyed pho, that quintessentially Vietnamese soup that’s equally messy and delicious. Especially those of you who live in larger cities, where there tend to be a delicious variety of ethnic restaurants.

Myself, I never indulged in pho until just recently, when my daughter took me to a well known Vietnamese restaurant that she and her husband frequent in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And I was thoroughly satisfied after my very long and patient wait.

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The soup is a flavorful broth with noodles, beef slices, and bean sprouts, although there are other versions, including a vegetarian pho, available at this restaurant as well. But then here comes the fun part. You get to add Sriracha, hoisin sauce, cilantro, basil, lime juice and sliced jalapenos.

It would be so fun to have a pho party some time, just set up a bar of fun pho ingredients. But the only negative is how messy it is to eat. So maybe I won’t do it. Scratch that idea.

However, I did want to make pho at home from scratch, since I can’t go to any restaurant where I live and order it. I based my recipe that I’m posting here on one I found online from Food and Wine.

Pho Broth

Beef short ribs* and pork neck bones, about 6 pounds total
Oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4″ piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
6 cloves
4 allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
Rock sugar – I used a few brown sugar cubes

pho5_edited-1

First place all of the meat and bones in a large pot. Add water to cover by at least 1″.

pho6

Bring the meat and bones to a boil.

Meanwhile, add a little oil to a skillet, and sauté the onion and ginger until there’s a little color on them.
pho3

Place the cloves, allspice, cinnamon, fennel seeds and bay leaves in a muslin bag, or a piece of tied up cheesecloth and set aside.

After the meat and bones have reached a boil, pour the water off. You may have to wait until things cool down a bit so you don’t get a meat and bone facial over your sink. They will look like this.

pho4

Then cover the meat and bones with water again, add the onion and ginger, the bag of spices, and the sugar cubes.

pho2

Bring the pot to a boil again, then cover and simmer for at least 2 1/2 hours. Let cool.

Place a colander over a large bowl and pour the whole thing into the colander. Place the bowl of broth in the refrigerator overnight.

pho1

You will be left with a lot of bones.

pho

Remove any good meat from the beef short ribs, place the meat in a sealable plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.

The next thing to do is make a spicy oil to add to the pho:

Heat 1/4 cup of plain, tasteless oil in a small pan on the stove over low heat. Add 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes, a tablespoon of sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt. Just let the ingredients “warm” in the oil for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and store the pan in the refrigerator.

pho4

The next day, remove the fat from the broth, and then pour it back into a pot to heat on the stove. Taste the broth and add salt if you think it needs it.

Get the spicy sesame oil out of the refrigerator and strain it into a small bowl. Save the goodies to throw into a stir fry.

pho3

Meanwhile, get out your other ingredients:

Limes
Cilantro
Bean sprouts
Cooked noodles
Sriracha
Hoisin sauce
Meat from short ribs
Jalapeno slices

To serve the pho, start by ladling the hot broth into a large bowl. Add some noodles and bean sprouts. Add some beef, and then sprinkle on the jalapenos, cilantro, and basil. Squeeze some lime into the pho as well. And then season everything by adding Sriracha and hoisin sauce, to taste. But you’re not done. Then add some of the spicy sesame oil on the top.

pho2

Pho is typically eaten with a porcelain spoon in combination with chop sticks, but I don’t own one of those spoons.

pho

verdict: I’m glad I made this once. This pho was really remarkable. The broth was fabulous and flavorful. But I think the spicy sesame oil was the biggest hit of all. Making pho from scratch isn’t much work – it’s just time consuming. And then I found this:

photproduct

* The recipe called for oxtails, which I can’t get here.

By Published On: December 9th, 201339 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

39 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller December 9, 2013 at 8:35 AM - Reply

    Wonderful! :)

  2. Conor Bofin December 9, 2013 at 8:48 AM - Reply

    I think I would stick with the stock making. Lovely looking Pho.

  3. dishnthekitchen December 9, 2013 at 10:48 AM - Reply

    I love Pho!! I enjoy the spicy satay pho variety when I’m feeling sick…and this morning I woke up and can literally feel a bug working it’s way into my chest. The family had it a couple of weeks ago and I thought I’d avoided it. Guess I’m having pho for lunch!!

    • chef mimi December 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM - Reply

      Oh gosh, sorry – at least you’ll be good by Christmas…

  4. Pacific Merchants December 9, 2013 at 12:30 PM - Reply

    I’m spoiled for Pho options here in Los Angeles, but still, I’m thrilled to have another option if I want to make it! Of course, given the choices around here, it’s probably actually cheaper to go out.

    • chef mimi December 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM - Reply

      Oh, i miss L.A. just for that very reason. And San Francisco. It was worth making pho once, but I probably won’t do it again.

  5. chefmo73 December 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM - Reply

    I am loving this post of yours. You have an amazing way of weaving humor into your writing. Thanks for the Pho party idea. I am gong to do one after the new year.

    • chef mimi December 9, 2013 at 1:08 PM - Reply

      hahaha! good luck with the pho party! Have plenty of napkins!

  6. eliotthecat December 9, 2013 at 3:25 PM - Reply

    If I am home tomorrow (another snow day), I am so making this! I have some German rock sugar that I am sure would work in this.

  7. StefanGourmet December 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    I’d never even heard of Pho, let alone tried it, but it sounds delicious and like a recipe I’d enjoy preparing. Thanks for sharing!

    • chef mimi December 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM - Reply

      Well I’m actually surprised! It’s pronounced like “fuh”, not phonetically. Maybe you’ve heard that.

      • StefanGourmet December 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        LOL as if anything in English is pronounced phonetically. (Did you know that “ghoti” can be pronounced as “fish”?)

      • chef mimi December 10, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        What???!!!!!!

      • StefanGourmet December 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        ghoti:
        enouGH
        wOmen
        naTIon

      • chef mimi December 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        hahahahahahahaha!

  8. Michelle December 9, 2013 at 7:07 PM - Reply

    Oh, dear, I’ve not seen the “starter.” Your way is definitely better. Such a delicious dish.

    • chef mimi December 10, 2013 at 6:22 AM - Reply

      I haven’t sampled it yet. But you could always tweak it a bit in a pinch…

  9. The Novice Gardener December 9, 2013 at 9:01 PM - Reply

    Love, love pho!! Actually made it yesterday but never could make mine taste as good as the restaurant’s, so thank you for the recipe! Will definitely be trying this. XOXO, Angie.

    • chef mimi December 10, 2013 at 6:22 AM - Reply

      I had to reduce the stock quite a bit. But the flavor was pretty wonderful.

  10. Bam's Kitchen December 9, 2013 at 9:23 PM - Reply

    Your Pho looks amazing. Making your stick from scratch is always the best way to go. I also love all the fresh crisp topping and flavours. Take care

  11. ladyredspecs December 10, 2013 at 3:43 AM - Reply

    Pho is fab! I live a block from little Vietnam, $8 buys you a bucketful (not really but an enormous serve) always good, warm nourishing whatever option you choose! I often poach chicken in master stock which makes a great broth for pho, all the right spices, far less labour involved!

    • chef mimi December 10, 2013 at 6:21 AM - Reply

      Oh, I’m so jealous. I’ve never lived “in” a big city, but when I visit I take advantage. I had the best $4. lunch about 20 years ago in Boston walking through the Asian part of town and stopping at a little take out place. It wasn’t pho, but it was fab!

  12. Amanda December 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM - Reply

    YES! I’ve been looking to make this for quite a while, but never had the time to do it yet. Yours looks fantastic! It’s a tedious task indeed, but the spoils are well worth it!

  13. buttoni December 10, 2013 at 4:14 PM - Reply

    This looks delicious, Mimi. I’ve never eaten Pho but am quite taken with the recipes for it I’m reading lately, and the pics look divine! Must get to trying a batch real SOON!

    • chef mimi December 10, 2013 at 5:41 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much! It’s pretty fabulous!

  14. wendy@chezchloe December 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM - Reply

    I love pho and finally know how to pronounce it now. Good tip on the pho stock. The India tree company also has a nice pho spice mix.
    This looks so warm and good.

    • chef mimi December 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM - Reply

      Actually, I had frozen the stock, and I thawed it out for lunch today and had a version of pho (no cilantro). It’s amazingly good.

      • wendy@chezchloe December 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        I think it’s one of those dishes you can make “classic” but there is a lot of room to play with it and make it
        “pho-ish” :-)

  15. Fae's Twist & Tango December 24, 2013 at 9:50 PM - Reply

    I love pho and always wanted to know how to make it. Thank you for the recipe. I shall make it per your instruction from scratch.

  16. Judee June 30, 2022 at 10:06 AM - Reply

    Pho is our favorite thing to order in a Vietnamese restaurant. but It might be too adventurous for me to attempt at home. I am a vegetarian so I always get the Vegetable Pho; my husband the grilled chicken pho. I am so impressed with how good yours looks!

    • Chef Mimi June 30, 2022 at 4:16 PM - Reply

      It was one of those things I wanted to make, and now I’m done!!! It was fun, and there are no good Asian restaurants where I live, eithr.

  17. Judee June 30, 2022 at 10:12 AM - Reply

    Hi I’m Judee from Gluten Free A-Z blog – for some reason my comment came through but not my link to my blog in my previous comment (Just in case you wanted to see who I was!!)

    • Chef Mimi June 30, 2022 at 4:15 PM - Reply

      I will definitely check you out! Are you also real food blogger?

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