Ive never been to Vietnam and never tasted the real Vietnamese pho. So, my pho experience probably aren’t accurate enough for me to say that this recipe is the closest to the authentic pho. However, I went through few recipes; not just one, and realised that theres a common denominator in each recipe i.e. beef bones and meat, charred onions and ginger, toasted spices and fish sauce. Ingredients were pretty basic and the only difference in each recipes that I went through is the technique.
I found pressure cooker way of making the broth, 30 minutes pho way, and of course the slow-cooked 12-hour or 24-hour broth. Ive tried all methods in the past few years and if I have to choose two ways would be the pressure cooker way and the slow-cooked (just because the broth is insanely delicious).
I won’t be wasting anyone’s time here with me rambling about broth; the recipe that I’ll be sharing here will require you to at least let the broth simmer for 12-hours or you can stretch it to 24-hours. Try it. You won’t regret it.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE PHO BROTH
Preboil the beef and bones
1-2kg beef bones (I used 2 kilos of short ribs here)
Charred onions and ginger
3 large yellow onions
1 fresh ginger
4 whole star anise
1/2 tbsp cloves
5-6 cloves of garlic
1/2 tbsp black peppercorn
1 cinnamon stick
1 daikon, cut into large pieces
STEPS for the pho broth
- In a large pot, add enough water to cover the oxtail, beef bones (short ribs) and bring to boil.
- While boiling, char the onions and ginger root on your stove.
- Lightly toast all the toasted spices ingredients. Stir frequently for at least 5 minutes. Set aside and let it cool
- Check the boiling beef and bones and skim off any scum. (This usually will happen around 10-15 minutes after you boil the bones)
- Once the scum has been removed, strain the beef and bones and change to another large pot and add another water enough to cover the beef and bones. Let it boil for another 15 minutes and reduce heat to let it simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Next, add in the toasted spices and garlic, charred onion and ginger, the daikon, cinnamon stick, and 3 shallots to the broth.
- Boil for another 15 minutes and then let it simmer.
- To taste : Add in the fish sauce and rock sugar to the broth. Again, the saltiness of the broth will be best with fish sauce. I have tried this so many times and every time the measurement is never the same. Let’s just say that you will need a big bottle of fish sauce because you will put more than a dash of fish sauce in it. Taste, taste, and keep tasting as you cook.
- Simmer it for at least 2-3 hours or in my case 12-hours to 24-hours. Personally, 12 hours is more than enough. Cover it and let it simmer.
- Once done, remove the bones and meat aside and strain the broth one more round.
- Then you bring the broth back to gentle simmer and the broth is ready to go.
INGREDIENTS FOR PHO & GARNISHING
2 Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
Thai Basil Leaves
Chillies, thinly slice
More fish sauce
500g thinly sliced, raw sirloin
This is really up to you. Just assemble everything except the sriracha, hoisin sauce, fish sauce and chilli oil. Pour the hot broth and you can season it further with the sauces.
- Beef & bones : Please take note that I used short ribs here and because of the fats from the beef, this broth was pretty oily. Do skim the oil aside. Why short ribs ? It is because the slow-cooked short ribs was worth it. It all falls off the bones by the 10-hour being simmered slowly in the pot and its a great with the pho. I know this is unconventional because pho is pouring the broth on top of raw beef but I like mine cooked. 😛
- Pressure cooker : I am all about quick and easy because Im a mom, so if you have to choose between the 30-minute of this; pressure cooker is still better. However, nothing beats the broth simmering for 12-hours.
- Safety: Since this is a long process, I do cook this on an induction cooker. I don’t think it safe for you to leave it on a gas stove unattended just like that . But if you are in the kitchen doing other things, you may cook it on the stove.
- Fish Sauce : I know that the broth require just fish sauce but I think its alright to season it with some salt. Really up to you.
- Rock Sugar : Can you use sugar ? Yes you can but be careful on the amount.
- Charring the onion and ginger : This is some thing you need to do because it gives you that beautiful brown colour and gives a depth to the overall flavours of the broth.