Ok, so anytime I cook something Vietnamese, I usually post it on Facebook and everyone always comments.   We’ve gone so far as have a “Friends, Family, and Pho” Night at our house.  Everyone has asked me my recipe on how to make pho, otherwise known as Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup.  To clarify how it’s pronounced, it is pronounced “Fuh-uh”, no “Foe”.
Pho is a staple in my family. I grew up eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it NEVER got old.  It’s my comfort food (and a great hangover cure)!  It’s like chicken soup- a cure all.   It’s not too hard to make, it just takes a lot of prep work and time to make. Most of the time is just the waiting/simmer time.
When you cook it, the smells of the spices permeate the house and smells amazing!  So here’s my mom’s recipe with a little variation from me.
Getting recipes from anyone in my family is really hard. Most of me learning to cook from them goes something like this:

Mom: ok, so you put some of this in here…
Me: how much?
Mom: a little bit
Me: how much is a little bit? like a tablespoon? a teaspoon?
Mom: to taste
Me: (sigh)

So without further ado, my mom’s pho recipe as adapted by me…

Here are your ingredients:
  • ·       PhoBag Seasoning OR(6 whole star anise,3 sticks cinnamon, 1 tablespoon cardamom pods, 1 tablespoon whole blackpeppercorns and 8 whole cloves)
  • ·      Pho Hoa Seasoning (in orange box found in Asian stores)
  • ·      Pho Bouillons (yellow box, optional)
  • ·      Chicken Broth
  • ·      Chicken Bouillons
  • ·      3 whole onions (2 to roast, 1 to slice)
  • ·      Beef Bones or Ox Tail
  • ·      Fresh Ginger root
  • ·      Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam)
  • ·      Sugar
  • ·      Black pepper
  • ·      Pho Rice Noodles
  • ·      Round Top Roast
  • ·      Thai Basil
  • ·      Bean Sprouts
  • ·      Lime
  • ·      Cilantro
  • ·       Green onions
  • ·      Hoisin Sauce
  • ·      Siracha Sauce


Steps to make the broth:

  1. Dry Roast Seasoning to release flavors
  2. Put roasted seasonings into steeping pouch or cheese cloth or tea infuser ball (leave out cinnamon stick if it doesn’t fit)
  3. Peel and stab onions to help release flavor and roast sliced fresh ginger until slightly cooked.
  4. Par boil the beef bones (put bones in a pot, cover with water, boil for 3-5 minutes, a scum will come to top, discard the broth and scum, keep the bones)
  5. Bring chicken broth and steeping pouch with seasoning to a boil
  6. Add and season to taste:
    1. 1 bag of the pho hoa seasoning
    2. 1-2 pho bouillons
    3. 1-2 chicken bouillons
    4. 1 tbsp of black pepper
    5. 1 tbsp of sugar
    6. the roasted ginger
    7. A splash of fish sauce
  7. Once the water comes back up to a boil, add the beef bones or ox tails
  8. Add the 2 roasted whole onions
  9. Simmer broth for a few hours.

Prep-work for garnishes etc…

  • Slice the round top into thin slices (hint: put the meat in the freezer to just about frozen… makes it so much easier to cut)
  • Chop Cilantro and Green Onions together
  • Slice an onion in half and then into paper thin moon shaped slices
  • Slice Limes into wedges
  • Rinse and dry bean sprouts and Thai basil
  • Boil Dry Pho Noodles (wide rice noodles) according to package directions or until al dente.. make sure to rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. OR if using fresh noodles, dip fresh noodles in boiling water until soft.
  • Just before eating, make sure to bring the broth back to a boil so you can cook the meat.

Putting it all together:

  1. In a large bowl, fill with desired amount of cooked noodles.
  2. Take a ladle and fill with the raw thinly sliced top round beef.
  3. Dip ladle in boiling broth with chopsticks and cook the beef to medium rare or desired done-ness, careful to not lose any in the broth! 🙂
  4. Pour the cooked beef and some broth over the noodles.  Repeat for more meat, otherwise just add broth
  5. Garnish with Hoisin Sauce, Siricha Sauce, bean sprouts, Thai basil, thinly sliced yellow onion, green onion and cilantro mix, lime juice from the lime wedge, and if you’d like- jalapeños or hot chili peppers.
  6. ENJOY!!!!
Note: you can also add and experiment with other meats like: Vietnamese Beef balls (pictured above), tripe, flank, tendons.
Bowl of Pho 🙂

I’m not really good at writing recipes, I write them so I understand them, so if you have any questions, or if I’ve left something out, let me know, and hopefully I can help you.

XOXO & Enjoy!