Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

The Vietnamese eat Pho in big, steaming bowls filled with rice noodles. If your Pho is an appetizer, you may opt for smaller portions.


6 cups beef broth

1 small onion, quartered

1 slice fresh ginger

1 star anise

2 whole cloves

¼ teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon sugar

4 ounces rice noodles

½ pound boneless sirloin steak, trimmed

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 cup bean sprouts

⅓ cup whole fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup minced green onion

¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

1 small hot pepper, sliced

Lime wedges

  • In a large soup pot, combine broth, onion, ginger, anise, cloves, coriander, and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat; stir well, then reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

  • Soften noodles in hot water 10 minutes.

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil; add noodles. Cook 1 minute, or until noodles are soft; drain. With a sharp knife, cut steak into very thin slices.

  • Strain broth into a heat-safe bowl; discard solids. Return broth to soup pot; add fish sauce, sprouts, and basil. Cook 1 minute over medium heat; add sliced steak. Continue cooking just until beef is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.

  • Divide noodles into 4 large soup bowls. Ladle broth over noodles; sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, and sliced pepper. Serve with lime wedges.

Fabulous Pho

Some food historians believe pho, pronounced “fuh,” got its name from feu, the French word for fire. This ubiquitous Vietnamese dish originated during the French occupation of the country. Although the Vietnamese traditionally don't eat much beef, this soup has become the quintessential Vietnamese comfort food. It combines French-style boiled beef in broth, Chinese noodles, and Southeast Asian spices and herbs.

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