An epic Vietnamese pho soup is all about the broth – and my recipe certainly delivers! Ideal for weekend cooking, save this one for when you’ve got some time up your sleeve so you can really draw out all those flavours and get yourself a crystal clear base. It’s truly joyous!
200g (7 oz) piece beef round steak, eye fillet or any other cut that doesn’t have too much connective tissue or fat
1kg (2.2 lb) dried rice stick noodles
1½ cups bean shoots
½ onion, finely sliced, to serve
½ cup finely sliced spring onion (scallions), to serve
Thai basil leaves, to serve
finely sliced red chilli, to serve
lime wedges, to serve
fish sauce, to serve
1 large onion, unpeeled
8cm piece ginger, unpeeled
2.5kg beef bones (e.g. short ribs, knuckle bones or oxtail)
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce or to taste
2 tbsp sea salt or to taste
For the broth, char the onion and ginger over a naked flame for 10-15 minutes or until blackened. Alternatively, roast them under a hot oven grill. Transfer the onion and ginger to a chopping board and scrape off most of the blackened skins. Lightly rinse the onion and ginger and then roughly chop. Set aside for later.
Place the beef bones in a large stockpot (at least 6L capacity). Pour over enough water to generously cover the beef. Bring to a boil and simmer for a minute or so. Then remove the bones from the water (there should be quite a bit of scum at the surface). Rinse the bones. Discard the water and clean the stock pot. Place the bones back into the clean stockpot along with the peeled onion, ginger, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick. Add 5L of water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 2 hours, skimming the surface every so often.
bit of preparation to do before serving…place the round steak into the freezer for 20 minutes before you want to slice and serve (this makes it easier to thinly slice the beef). Cut into very thin slices.
Soak the dried rice noodles in room temperature water for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the beef bones from the broth. If you can salvage any meat from the bones, keep that for serving. Strain the broth and place it into a clean pot. Add the sugar, fish sauce and salt. Taste and season with more fish sauce or salt to your taste (the broth should be on the saltier side because the noodles and other ingredients will be unseasoned).
To serve, cook the noodles and bean shoots in boiling water (I like to do this in individual portions) and place into serving bowls. Add some sliced raw onion, spring onion and some of the braised beef if using. Drape over thin slices of the raw beef. Heat the broth up so that it is bubbling before ladling it over the raw beef (it should cook in the hot broth). Serve with Thai basil, chilli, lime wedges and fish sauce to be added at the table to taste.