Pho, the traditional Vietnamese soup is a feel good meal full of great flavors. You can customize it to suit your taste, but make sure you focus your efforts on making the best broth ever. This recipe veers from tradition, cheating a little by starting with a store-bought stock.

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  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h 20 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 50 m
  • Servings:


  • 2 onions quartered
  • 4 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander or fennel seeds
  • 2 quarts good-quality beef stock
  • 1 pound beef bones oxtails, knuckle bones, shanks
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 8 ounces sirloin steak
  • soy sauce fish sauce and sugar, all to taste
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • fresh mint leaves
  • scallions sliced
  • red chili pepper sliced
  • bean sprouts
  • carrot julienned
  • lime wedges
  • sriracha sauce
  • hoisin sauce


  1. Start by charring the onion and ginger. You can do this over the burner of a gas stove, or you can put the vegetables on a sheet tray and char them under the broiler in your oven. Make sure you get some nice black char marks on the vegetables and then set them aside.
  2. Par-boil the beef bones by putting them in a stockpot of cold water and bringing it to a boil for 10 minutes. This step is optional, but it will remove the impurities and extra fat and give your finished dish a cleaner taste at the end. Discard the boiling water, rinse the bones in cold water and set them aside.
  3. Place the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and coriander or fennel seeds in a dry stockpot and toast the spices until they are fragrant – a few minutes – stirring them around regularly. When fragrant and lightly browned, add the beef stock, beef bones, smashed garlic cloves and the charred onion and ginger. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let the broth simmer gently for at least an hour or longer.
  4. While the broth is simmering, cook the rice noodles in a large pot of salted water. Strain and divide the cooked noodles between your serving bowls.
  5. Slice the sirloin steak as thinly as possible (putting the steak in the freezer for 30 minutes makes slicing much easier). Divide the sliced beef between the bowls, placing it on top of the noodles.
  6. When the broth is ready, strain it through a fine strainer and discard the bones and vegetables. Return the strained broth to the stockpot, bring it back to a simmer, and season it to taste with soy sauce, salt, fish sauce or even a pinch of sugar.
  7. Pour the hot broth into the bowls over the raw meat and noodles. The broth will cook the beef. Place all the condiments out in separate bowls and let people build their own bowls of Pho.
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