Extremely good pho takes a lifetime to get right, which is why many good pho shops serve almost nothing else. I’m not pretending that this will be the best pho in the world, but think of it as Pho 101–an introduction.

If there’s any recipe in this chapter that I encourage you to use homemade stock for, it’s this one. If you use store-bought stock, let it simmer for a bit longer with the aromatics to get some extra flavors going. Once you have the stock done, this recipe only has a few pieces. To be honest, forty minutes is an overestimate of the amount of time it should take to throw it together.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

Broth

  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 inches fresh ginger, sliced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Add-ins

  • 12-16 ounces sirloin steak, slightly frozen
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 red chile, sliced thin
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh mint
  • 12 ounces rice noodles
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • Lime wedges, garnish

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients for the broth to a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. The longer you simmer this, the more flavor will be infused. If you’re using store-bought stock, feel free to add more flavors to this simmer, such as some onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.
  2. Slice your steak into very thin slices. This is easier if you put the steak in the freezer for 30 minutes. Chop the scallions, red chile, cilantro, and mint.
  3. Cook noodles according to package in a separate pot. Don’t cook them in the broth, as it will make the broth too thick.
  4. While the broth is still simmering, add the bean sprouts to the broth for just 5 seconds so they heat up and blanch slightly. Remove them.
  5. Right before serving, blanch the steak slices in the simmering broth. I dunk my steak slices in the very hot broth for just 10 seconds, which should be enough time to start to cook the very thin slices. They will continue to cook as they sit in the bowl– and you Don’t want to overcook them.
  6. Distribute hot, cooked noodles between bowls. Top noodles with slightly cooked steak slices. Ladle hot broth over the steak and noodles.
  7. Top pho with vegetables and herbs. Garnish with chili sauce and lime wedges. Serve immediately!
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