How to eat Pho like a Vietnamese: Breathe in the beautiful scented broth then taste, unadulterated by any condiments. Next squeeze on some lemon or lime and add your favoured condiments and garnishes and mix with chopsticks and a spoon. Pile all the ingredients onto your spoon and slurp away, bringing the bowl to your mouth and drinking every last sip of broth.
You can go without most of the garnishes but using the right type of noodle is very important. It is essential to use flat rice noodles. In Vietnam, you can order extra noodles. Don’t forget, this is a breakfast dish and therefore lots of carbohydrates are required to keep you going for the day.
A choice of garnishes should be on the side with lemon/lime wedges. You should never serve the soup with the lime wedges inside the bowl or put your squeezed pieces into it.
Tear herbs such as sawtooth and basil into the bowl of soup, adding pre blanced or raw beansprouts if desired and fresh chillies to your level of hotness.
Phở Bò – Beef Noodle Soup
Ingredients – serves 6-8 Stock & Cooked Meat
3 litres water
2 litres chicken stock
600g ox tail
700g beef bones/ marrow
1.5kg beef shin/ flank or beef rib
1 x large onion – peeled, cut both ends to stand, charred
200g ginger – peeled, halved and charred
20 x star anise
2g whole cloves
3 x cassia bark sticks
2 x cinnamon sticks
4 x dried orange peel
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorn 2 black cardamon
1 x whole mooli, peeled
50g rock sugar
15g rock salt
15g pork flavouring stock granules
4tbs fish sauce to season
1 x cube of pho stock (optional)
Noodles 4 x fresh ho-fun noodles, separate and blanched in boiling water
or 2.5 x pack x dry phở noodles (flat) – Place in a saucepan or container with a lid. Pour over boiling water to re-hydrate with a pinch of salt and a dash of vinegar. Depending on manufacturer instructions, this should take about 5- 10 mins. Once cooked, drain in cold water and separate. Meat Cooked meat from stock, thinly sliced ox tail meat (optional) beef fillet, sirloin or rump steak – raw, thinly sliced (optional) torn chicken (optional) Garnish with noodle bowl 1 x thinly sliced red onion, half rings 1/4 bunch coriander, finely chopped 2 x spring onion, finely chopped Garnish plate for table 1/2 bunch of sweet basil, left on stalk for freshness 1/4 bunch coriander 4 x fresh sliced birds-eye chillies 1 x lime wedge per serving 8 stalks of saw tooth (optional) Handful of bean sprouts, raw or blanched (optional) Condiments fish sauce hoi sin sauce chilli sauce chilli oil Equipment Large soup pot Griddle pan
1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, (big enough to fit all of the meat and bones). Add meat and bones and boil until scum surfaces, this should take about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the water.
2. Wash the meat in cold water, removing any scum and rest. This process will give you a clearer broth.
3. Wash the pot, fill with 3 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Now add the cleaned meat then bring to a gentle boil and simmer, getting rid of any excess scum and fat. Add 2 litres of good quality chicken stock (or if a whole chicken, then add 2 litres of fresh water).
4. Meanwhile, place a griddle pan on high heat. Do not add oil. Char the onion and ginger on both sides. Add to the broth with a dailkon.
5. Add the mixture of spices (in a tided muslin sac or strainer) to the broth along with the rock sugar and salt. Simmer for at least 2 hours with the lid on. Continue to watch over and skim off most of the fat and scum that surfaces.
6. Prep the garnish plate of herbs, chilli and lime wedges.
7. The coriander, spring onion and red onion should be finely chopped and sliced and mixed together in a bowl.
8. After 2 hours, take out the beef flank/ rib and leave to rest. If it is left in for longer, the meat may be too soft and will fall apart; if it is not cooked long enough it may be too tough. When the meat cools down, slice it thinly, about (3-5mm) and place in a closed container until it is ready to be served. Leave the bones and ox tail in to simmer for at least another hour.
9. Then season with fish sauce, pork flavouring, pho stock cube and black pepper to taste. 10. Prepare noodles and place a portion into a big noodle soup bowl with a pinch of black pepper. Place the sliced meat on top with a generous sprinkling of coriander, spring onions and red onion mix. To make a special bowl of pho,place raw thin slices of steak on top of everything (once the pipping hot broth is poured over, the meat will cook to perfection).
11. Turn the pot of broth onto a high heat. Once it has reached boiling point, pour ladles of hot broth into the noodle soup bowls. There should be plenty of noodles in the bowl but these must be submerged in the broth – only the garnishes are placed on top. Serve immediately with lime wedges and a dish of garnishes. TIP -Remove all the vegetables from the stock, do not leave in overnight as this will make your stock rot. -Bottle the stock and keep refrigerated for up to one week. -Freeze the stock in single portions and consume whenever you need it within one or two months. -Make sure that the noodles are warm or at room temperature so that they don’t cool down the broth as this soup must be served piping hot.