Pho (Beef noodle soup)

Updated: Jul 25, 2021

Ingredients for the broth:

To serve 4-5

1 whole oxtail cut into pieces

1 chicken leg or 4 chicken wings

5 small shallots

100g ginger

1 white onion

6 star anise

3 sticks of cinnamon

Tsp black peppercorns

Tsp fennel seeds

Tsp coriander seed

Tsp juniper berries

2 Tbsp sugar



1 packet of pho rice noodle

5 spring onions

Bunch of coriander

Bunch of mint

25g of Beansprouts

3 limes

16oz fillet steak

3 Birdseye chillis

fish sauce


1. Firstly I must explain what makes a good bowl of pho is the flavour and the clarity of the broth. You want to try and make pho almost like a consommé with a very fragrant beefy taste. First step begin by preparing a large pan of water and bring to a boil next add the oxtail and chicken and boil for approximately 20 - 25 mins until all of the impurities have begun to surface. As soon as you can see the impurities rise to the top, drain and clean the bones with cold water. When the impurities begin to rise the water should look like the image below, this stage is very important as this is how we achieve a clear broth. When the bones are clean add to a large pan of fresh water and bring to a boil.

2. Next up the spices, start by toasting the ginger and shallots either on a naked flame or in a pan. When the shallots and ginger are nicely charred dry fry the star anise, cinnamon, juniper berries, coriander seed, black peppercorns and fennel seeds in a pan until toasted. Once all this is done scrape off all the black char marks on the ginger and shallots. Next add the shallots, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and sugar to the bone broth keeping the other spices aside for now. For the other spices I like to empty a regular teabag and put the spices inside and tie them up to make sure they do not spill into the broth (we will add the spices in the teabag towards the end). I know its seems quite labour intensive but this process will impact the flavour of the broth at the end.

3. Now that the broth is coming up to a boil we can also add the single whole peeled onion, the reason for the whole onion is to add more clarity to the broth. When the broth comes to a boil turn the heat down so that the broth comes to a more gentle rolling boil removing any scum that rises to the top. We also want to cook the broth without a lid as this will again ensure a clearer broth. Now the broth is prepared we want to slowly cook for around 8-12 hours topping up with water if needed and checking to remove any scum that rises to the top of the broth. Towards the last 2 hours of cooking you can now add the teabag of remainding spices.

4. When the broth is finally ready we can prepare the garnishes, begin by boiling the pho rice noodles according to what the packet states draining then when cooked set aside (usually only for a few minutes). Next wash and roughly chop the coriander and mint and wash and finely slice the spring onion. For the beansprouts it depends on whether you prefer them crunchy if so simply wash and set aside if you prefer them a little more cooked then cook them in boiling water for around 30 seconds and set aside. For the beef I personally like rare beef so I litteraly just slice it as thin as possible and add raw as a topping before adding the hot broth. If preferred you can flash fry the beef before hand for a few seconds until cooked.

5. Now that all the garnishes are ready check the seasoning of the pho by adding salt and fish sauce. Pho usually takes quite a lot of salt depending on how much pho you have made. When satisfied finish the seasoning with a couple of splashes of fish sauce.

6. When ready to serve take a bowl add the cooked pho rice noodles and add the mint, coriander and beansprout. Then add the raw or cooked beef fillet, and pour the hot broth over the top. Next take out the oxtail form the pan and remove from the bone adding to the bowl of pho. add red chilli and a squeeze of lime and enjoy.

Hope you all liked this recipe!!!

Additional notes:

Pho takes a very long to make, I don't recommend using a pressure cooker to speed up the process as the broth is not clear enough for pho by using this method. If you cant get hold of oxtail beef marrow bone works just as well, you can also replace the chicken wings for a small hen which works even better. If you don't want to use fillet steak you could also use rib eye or even sirloin, Another way is by using brisket and cooking in the broth for around 90 mins then thinly slicing that.

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