Vietnamese Pho Tai (beef noodle soup)

  • 5 lbs of good beef bones (oxtail is better)
  • 1 lb of beef meat (I like chuck)
  • Mesh spice bag filled with 1 cinnamon stick, half tbsp coriander seeds, 5 whole garlic cloves (peeled), half tbsp fennel seeds, , 1 cardamom pod, and 4 star anise
  • 1 large onion (unpeeled)
  • 3″ chunk of ginger (unpeeled)
  • 1oz of regular sugar
  • 1/8 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 32 oz pho rice noodles (I prefer thin noodles but flat wide ones are traditional)
  • 1 lb flank or round, sliced as thin as possible (have your butcher do it and keep it refrigerated until ready to eat)
  • 1 bunch diced green onion (store unused)
  • 1 white onion thinly sliced (store unused)
  • big bunches of mint, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts
  • some lime wedges
  • Hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce (to taste)
I'm working hard on getting Pro status here people so help me out. I don't often make this because it's very time consuming but I do love making it for friends. This recipe was taught to me by my mother who makes the best pho in the world. Yes I'm biased but it really is the best!

Thanks Guys!

Char broiling (important)

On a gas stove, place your unpeeled ginger and onion right over the flame turning every 2 minutes or so. The outside should blacken. That's okay because you're going to peel them before adding to the broth. Takes about 10 minutes.

Broth prep
Fill a large 12-qt pot with water. Bring it to a boil and then add the bones. After about 15-20 minutes, drain, rinse the bones and discard water from pot. Put bones back in pot, pour in about 6 qts of clean water and bring it to a rolling boil.  Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top. Turn it down to a simmer. Whew!

Peel the charred ginger and onion. Add it along with the mesh spice bag, beef round, salt, sugar, fish sauce and simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside (I discard this meat since I don't like it but many people cut it up and eat it along with the sliced flank). Continue simmering for another 2 hours. Get rid of the ginger, onions, and spice bag. Strain broth of all the scummy stuff on the surface. At this point you can add a few more splashes of fish sauce and a few pinches of sugar.

Follow package instructions to cook rice noodles. Add handful noodles into bowl. Top with raw beef slices green onion, and white onion.

When broth is back to a boil, ladle into bowl until it covers everything. The heat will cook the raw beef in minutes which is why it needs to be super thinly sliced.

Garnish with mint, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, squeeze of lime, hoisin sauce, and hot sauce.

Vietnamese people usually enjoy this hardy dish with Cafe Sua Da which is an iced coffee concoction thanks to the colonial French. I'll post that recipe up soon. I personally eat pho with Vietnamese lime soda. That recipe soon to follow too!