How To Make Pho Soup
To give our Pho soup its typical Pho flavor, its crucial to tease out all the flavor from our ingredients. And to achieve this, we will nicely roast the onions, ginger, and spices first.
To do this, you need to preheat the oven to 260°C / 500°F. Meanwhile, you can already peel the onions, quarter them and put them on a baking tray. You can also peel the ginger, slice it lengthwise and add it to the onions. Once the oven is hot, you can put the tray in for five minutes.
Meanwhile, you can already put the cinnamon sticks, cloves, star arils and coriander seeds in a medium sized saucepan or casserole and toast them over medium to medium-high heat. Once there are some nice roasted flavors developed, you can add the water, the roasted onions and ginger strips, the peeled garlic clove, vegetable broth, soy sauce and coriander leaves. Let the broth simmer for about 40 minutes with the lid closed on low heat. Afterwards, you can drain the broth through a fine sieve into a second pot and keep it warm over low heat while you take care of the entrees for this Pho soup recipe.
How Do I Serve Pho
In bowls with chopsticks and soup spoons. Garnishes can include cilantro, mint, and/or Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges, thinly-sliced chiles, thinly sliced green or white onion, and hoisin and/or sriracha sauces.
Growing up, we ate Vietnamese every weekend, and so Im proud to learn these recipes and share them with the next generation of my family.
Your bowl is waiting.
Assembling The Very Best Bowl Of Pho
Like building the perfect sandwich, there is a right and a wrong way when constructing a bowl a pho.
The wrong way? Throw everything together. The right way? Throw it all together, in a very specific order.
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Pho Bo Make Ahead Instructions:
- Broth: Although soup doesnt take too long to make as it is a very simplified version, the broth can be made ahead and once cool can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Reheat broth stovetop right before you need to pour it over the noodles and beef.
- Noodles: Rice noodles are always best served fresh, but if you have some leftover and need to save them, or you want to make them ahead of time, its best to keep them in the fridge. Tossing the rice noodles in oil will prevent them from becoming too sticky and clumping together during storage. Rice noodles that have already been soaked or cooked should be kept in a shallow airtight container, or a resealable plastic food bag, in the fridge. The noodles will keep for 3-4 days.
Regional Flavor Differences And Types Of Vietnamese Pho
Vietnamese Pho Regional Flavor Differences
Northern Vietnamese variations has clear broth and is saltier.
Central Vietnamese variations are sweeter, and they add satay peanut mix in the pho.
Southern Vietnamese variations are slightly stronger in flavor and sweeter.
Types of Vietnamese Pho
Vietnamese pho is constructed with fresh rice noodles with a clear broth fragrant with ginger and star anise.
The soup can be served with several different types of meat from rare to well-done with steak, flank steak, brisket, beef meatballs, oxtail, beef chuck, and even chicken.
The chicken broth is made from chicken bones, meats, and innards. It also has a clearer broth than beef pho.
It can also be served vegetarian, albeit authentic pho is generally made with meat.
Below are the various ways you’ll find Vietnamese pho in recipes and on restaurant menus.
- Pho Dac Biet
- Pho Dac Biet
Other Cuisines Like Vietnamese Pho
Pho is a dish that is uniquely and distinctly Vietnamese. While there are other variation of dishes from its neighbors, there aren’t really pho equivalents that come close to the earthy flavor of Vietnamese pho.
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What Are Main Ingredients In Vietnamese Pho
Pho is comprised of the broth, the rice noodles, and the garnishes. For the broth, it’s comprised of generally the bone broth depending on the type you get . The rice noodles are soaked in warm water, rinsed, and then set in a bowl that is then ladled with the broth. It is then served, which is then seasoned with personalized with soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, hoisin, and sriracha sauce along with a large helping of fresh garnishes like Thai basil, bean sprouts, mint arrow, cilantro, and other fresh herbs.
The Best Bones For Making Pho
We make this at least once a month and always make sure there is leftover broth to freeze for another day. While it takes a bit of time, most of that is hands-off, so lets get going towards amazing pho at home, shall we?
You cant make an excellent soup without great beef bones. So, look for knuckle and leg bones that contain marrow. We buy beef knuckles from a local Asian market and find them to be pretty inexpensive.
Substituting store-bought beef broth for this homemade beef broth just wont cut it. We know our process takes longer than some, but trust me, this homemade pho broth has so much more flavor. You wont regret it.
You may also like these Pho-inspired grilled chicken wings!
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How To Make Traditional Vietnamese Pho
There are few things better for the soul or the body than a tangle of slick rice noodles in a rich, crystal clear, intensely beefy broth the warm aroma of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise rising up in a cloud of steam. Get the recipe »
I toyed with the idea of giving this post one of the typical pun-filled pho-post titles. What the pho? All pho’c’d up. Blah blah blah. One of those titles intended to be clever and witty while at the same time demonstrating that the proper pronunciation of the Vietnamese noodle soup rhymes with the first two letters of a popular English curse word, and not with American slang for a loose woman.
Instead, I decided to do what would have been explained in a title into a full two sentences slap bang at the start of my post. Just pho you.
I’ve always had a thing for pho, but my interest in it took a sharp uptick when I moved to Boston for college, an event that brought with it two pro-pho side effects: Firstly, a close proximity to one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the Northeast A short ride to Dorchester and you have yourself the pick of some of the finest noodle shops and French-Vietnamese bakeries I’ve experienced outside of Vietnam. Secondly, and more importantly, a massive increase in the number of hangovers I experienced and the need for hot, brothy, salty, and soothing beef noodle soup to battle them with.
Bones Fish Sauce And Noodles: What To Buy Right
Bones: Beef knuckles are the preferred cut for beef pho broth because they are rich in connective tissue, but low on fat. The knuckle joints cook down in the broth, giving it body and a rich thickness that cannot be replicated. If you cant find knuckle bones, go ahead and double the beef shank called for here. Some Asian markets sell packages labeled beef soup bones, which can be exclusively knuckles or a combination of knuckles and shank . If you find them, snatch those up for beef broth.
Fish sauce: Be wary of supermarket fish sauce, which can be full of additives and preservatives. Instead look for fish sauce with two or three ingredients on the label. Red Boat is a great entry-level brand if you get overwhelmed with the choices at the Asian market.
Noodles: Beef pho is traditionally made with rice noodles. These flat noodles are sometimes labeled rice sticks and sold both fresh or dried. Look for dried rice noodles with a medium thickness too thin and theyll dissolve in the broth, but too thick means endless chewing.
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Instructions On How To Make Vietnamese Pho
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees on broil.
Place the onions and ginger on a roasting pan close to the heat. Allow the onions and ginger to char and blacken for about 15 to 25 minutes. Allow it to cool.
Parboil the bones and shanks.
Place the beef bones and shanks into a large pot of water, bring it to a boil. When the gray foam gathers, remove the impurities with a ladle. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes. Transfer the bones and shanks into a coriander. Rinse the bones and shanks to remove the impurities further and discard the water again.
Rinse out the pot and return the bones and shanks into the pot.
Toast the pho spices.
On a skillet on medium high heat, toast the star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, and fennel to bring out the aromatics. Remove the spices in a bowl, allow to cool, and then transfer to the cooking infuser or cheese cloth.
Stew and simmer the broth.
Add the bones, onion, ginger, and spice bundle into the stock pocket. Add 2 gallons of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for an hour . Halfway through, add in the sugar, fish sauce, and salt.
Clean the broth.
While the broth is simmering, use a ladle to skim the gray foam and impurities from the surface.
The broth will be ready when it has been reduced to half of what it was and the meat is tender.
Pho Broth Versus Bone Broth
Pho broth uses bone broth as the foundation of making the soup. Pho broth can also be made vegetarian with vegetable stock, which is not as common.
There are several variations of pho that uses bone broth that is enhanced with specific ingredients such as charred onion and ginger, anise stars, cardamom, and various types of bones like shank bone, oxtail, and neck bones.
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How To Make Phos Soup
Wash beef bones. Put a pot of water on the stove with a little lemongrass and bring to a boil. Put the bones in the blanching to remove the bad smell.
Remove the blanched bones, put in a tray with ginger, red onion, and cut onion and bake until the bones are golden, remove the bones from the oven, and immediately put them in a bowl of ice water.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, put the grilled beef bones, the seasoning packet, the grilled onion, ginger, and lemongrass into the pot of water. Stew the bones for about 5-6 hours for fresh water. While the bones are stewing, add the beef and cook until cooked. Note that when the beef is cooked, take it out immediately, if it is left for too long, the meat will become soft. Then remove the ingredients, filter the broth.
Put the pot of filtered broth on the stove, season with a little salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning seeds, rock sugar to taste, bring to a boil and turn off the stove.
Get Your Seasonings Ready
That would be your sriracha, hoisin sauce, and fish sauce
Now heres where Im going to sway a little bit from convention and give you a few recommendations based on my own experience.
Recommendation #1: Go easy with the seasonings!
Ive learned the hard way. Theres nothing worse than going through all the above steps to make a Saigon pho recipe only to accidentally add way too much hoisin and sriracha. They can easily overpower the subtle flavors that took so much time to develop during the broth-making process.
Just add a little bit at a time until you find what you like.
Recommendation #2: Make your own seasonings or seek out different brands
For many people what Im about to say will sound absolutely treasonous but Im going to say it
I dont love sriracha.
There I said it. Of course, Im talking about the Huy Fong brand pictured above, the most popular store-bought sriracha.
I really dont get this weird cultural phenomenon around it. People LOVE this stuff like its some sort of secret family recipe. I dont know how it caught on but I find the taste a bit harsh and processed. And thats the thing. It is highly processed. Have you looked at the ingredients? There are some not-so-great things in there.
Same for the hoisin sauce. Sorry to say but its not the best quality stuff out there either.
They always taste AMAZING.
Step 9. Put it all together.
You now know how to make pho like a master.
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Authentic Vietnamese Beef Pho Noodle Soup
Ph Bò is the national dish of Vietnam, a dish that many Vietnamese hold dear to their heart. Learn the authentic way to make beef pho and serve it like a true Vietnamese, as well as cooking tips you may not find elsewhere.
The beef pho broth recipe in this post leans toward Northern-style with suggestions to tweak it to be more like Southern-style. You will also find instructions to serve the noodle soup in each style.
Seven Secrets For Making The Best Pho Soup
If youre sitting there and wondering what is pho, its a delicate Vietnamese noodle soup made from beef bones, ginger, onions, and lots of aromatic spices. Its nothing short of soup perfection. The way all the spices and flavors from star anise, cardamom, fennel seeds, and cinnamon come together is incredible, and the best part? You can customize its encouraged that you add any condiments you desire to make the soup your own.
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How To Make Chicken Pho From Scratch
Heres how to make it. Little more than a plonk-and-simmer job!
Essentially, theres 3 steps:
Char onion and ginger this provides a subtle smokey fragrance to the broth that is a signature feature of Pho. So char them well!
Simmer everything gently for 1.5 hrs to infuse the water with all those incredible broth flavourings and
Strain, shred chicken, serve with Toppings!
See how clear the soup broth is? Beautiful!
Key Steps To Make Pho Broth
Here are the 4 steps and secrets to making a proper pho broth:
I know, its a lot of fish sauce! However, she said that this method tastes the best, but most people dont do it because fish sauce is so expensive.
She also mentioned, rather proudly, that the Vietnamese brands of fish sauce are much more flavorful than the Thai brands most people buy. Which is just food for thought.
In accordance with this insider information, feel free to add more fish sauce to the broth and decrease the amount of salt. As is our mantra here at The Woks of Life, its all up to your own taste preferences! Oh, and definitely buy a high quality fish sauce for this pho recipe. It will only make your broth better!
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Shop Your Soup Buy The Ingredients For Success
There are many important steps to follow when it comes to cooking pho at home. Were going to go through all of them in this cooking lesson. But before you even head to the kitchen, youve got to head to the store because the first step to making really good pho at home starts with sourcing the ingredients.
Whether you head to your grocery store, order some of these ingredients online, of visit the Asian grocery store, below are the three ingredients to pay particular attention to. You can check out our detailed lists on what to look when shopping for your soup for all the specifics.
Dont Forget The Spices And Toast Them
Even though were simmering the broth with spices for a few hours, we still like to give all the spices a quick toast before adding to the pot.
To toast the spices, throw them into a dry pan over medium heat, stay close and shake the pan a couple of times to make sure they toast. Youll know when theyre ready when you start to smell them. It only takes two to three minutes.
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How Is Vietnamese Pho Pronounced
Vietnamese Pho is pronounced fuh. The Vietnamese word for this dish is actually ph.
An easy way to remember this is to remember how to pronounced the first part of the slang fuhgettaboutit.
Pho is at the top of the list when it comes to the most commonly mispronounced food words.
Note that pho actually refers to the rice noodle, and not the soup itself. The soup itself is generally references by adding the description of the soup behind the word pho.
The Best Noodles And Condiments
You can buy fresh noodles at Asian markets, which is a nice treat, but dried rice noodles work perfectly as well. Even if you use fresh or dried, never cook the noodles in the broth.
If you do this, the broth will become cloudy. So, cook them in another pot and add the cooked noodles to your bowl just before adding hot broth.
As for condiments, were partial to Thai basil , fresh mint, crispy bean sprouts, a teeny tiny splash of fish sauce, and some Asian chili sauce.
Hoisin sauce is also pretty common, but we rarely add it ourselves it can take over the delicate deep flavor of the broth.
Oh, and while its not a secret make sure you have some freezer space to store some of that extra broth for the best make-ahead meal, ever!
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