Vietnamese Pho Soup

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes

One of my favourite Vietnamese dishes is Pho - a slowly cooked beef and rice noodle soup that is substantial and satisfying. Here is a much faster version that makes a warming treat, perfect for cold autumn or winter nights.


  • 225g (8 oz) minced beef
  • 175g (6 oz) thin dried rice noodles
  • 1.2 litres(2 pints) home-made chicken stock or quality store-bought fresh stock
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chilli bean sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • freshly ground white or black pepper, to taste


  • 1 tablespoondark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoonsShaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoonsugar
  • 1 teaspoonsesame oil
  • 1 teaspooncornflour


  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped spring onions
  • handful coarsely chopped basil leaves
  • handful coarsely chopped fresh coriander


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the beef, mix well and marinate for 20 Minutes in the refrigerator. Drain, discarding the marinade.
  2. While the beef is marinating, soak the rice noodles in hot water for 20 Minutes. When soft, drain well in a colander and set aside. Discard the water.
  3. Put the stock in a wok and bring to simmering point. Add the star anise, cloves and cinnamon and simmer for 3 Minutes.
  4. Add the beef and stir for 1 minute, breaking up any clumps of meat.
  5. Now add the fish sauce or light soy sauce, chilli bean sauce, sugar and pepper. Simmer for 2 Minutes.
  6. Add the rice noodles and cook for another 3 Minutes.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove the star anise, cloves and cinnamon. Turn the soup into a tureen or individual bowls, garnish with spring onions, basil and coriander and serve at once.