Pho (pronounced Fuh) is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and sliced meat. Although Pho is primarily served with either beef or chicken, variations also include shaved pork, charred pork belly, meatballs and poached eggs. Pho is one of my favorite go-to soups and is quick and simple to make. The flavors are fresh and bright and make for a perfect lunch or dinner. I had a big bowl of Vietnamese Ramen Pho while my husband had the Beef Pho at a local restaurant called CO recently and it was so delicious that we’ve been craving it ever since. We combined a little bit of both of our dishes into this Easy Beef Pho. The broth is so flavorful and delicious.
We buy the flat rice noodles at our local Asian market but if you do not have a store near you, you can also substitute ramen (wheat) noodles leaving out the included flavor packet. These flat rice noodles do really make the dish and are worth the extra effort, in my opinion.
I buy the meat already shaved but if you are slicing it thinly yourself, try this: partially freeze the meat, about 30 minutes in the freezer is all you need, to firm up the flesh. This makes it easier to slice thinly. Alternatively, you can ask the butcher to slice a steak thin for you on the meat slicer. This is usually done at no extra cost.
Easy Beef Pho
Yield 4 servings
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 small onion, cut in half
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 piece ginger, peeled, about 3-inches long
- 2 1/2 cups low-salt beef broth
- 1-2 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, 3 to 4 inches long
- 4 ounces (2 cups) mixed mushrooms (such as oyster or stemmed shiitake), sliced
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 4 bundles of flat rice noodles or 2 packages instant ramen (noodles only)
- 1 1/4–1/2-pound piece beef eye round, sliced crosswise 1/8" thick
- Bean sprouts
- Thai basil leaves
- Jalapenos or Serrano chiles, sliced thinly
- Hoisin sauce, optional
- Sriracha sauce, optional
- fish sauce, optional
- Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion, cut side down, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 3–4 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, broth, star anise, and cinnamon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until flavors meld, 7–8 minutes. Add mushrooms; simmer 2 minutes. Add scallion. Season with salt.
- Meanwhile, boil noodles or ramen until tender but still firm to bite. Drain and divide among bowls.
- Add beef slices to soup; simmer until just cooked through, about 20 seconds. Using tongs, transfer beef to bowls.
- Discard ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon; ladle broth into bowls. Garnish with bean sprouts, basil, and sliced chiles.
- Serve with hoisin, sriracha and fish sauce (optional) for dipping meats.