Phở is a wonderful Vietnamese noodle soup which has gained a lot of popularity in Western countries. Most phở recipes call for homemade stock, which can be very time consuming to make, so I’ll teach you a recipe for a deliciously spiced beef phở (of the quick variety). You can easily make this speedier version with very tasty results! Don’t be alarmed by the ingredients, it’s truly very easy to make. So here it is, a recipe for a quick bowl of beef phở that packs as much flavor and that will warm up a chilly night with its rich and fragrant broth.
Preparation Time: 15-20 min | Cooking Time: 30-40 min | Serves: 2 | Spice level: 🌶
What you’ll need:
To cook the broth
- 500ml beef broth
- 600ml water
- 1 piece of ginger (8-10cm), sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 normal onion, sliced in half
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 star anise
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sea salt
To serve and assemble
- 5 or 6 thinly sliced pieces of beef
- Noodles of your choosing
- Thai basil (or Italian basil if you can’t find the Thai one)
- Bean sprouts
- Lime wedges
- Sriracha sauce (ศรีราชา)
- Hoisin sauce (海鮮醬)
- Bird eye chilis (or any kind you prefer)
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Red onion, chopped
- Scallions, thinly sliced
- Start by charring the ginger and the sliced onions. You can either do this in the stove if yours is a gas one, or by placing them in a baking tray (skin side up) and broil/grill them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Either way, the outer layer of these vegetables needs to be charred, as this will give your broth a complex and deeper flavor. Don’t worry, it won’t taste burnt at all!
- Add the stock and the water to a big pot and start warming it up on high heat. Meanwhile, toast the spices (cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and cloves) for a little bit in a hot pan until fragrant – stir them to prevent burning. When the spices are lightly toasted, add them to the broth, along with the charred onion and the ginger. Finally, add the sugar, salt and the fish sauce.
- Let the broth boil for about 10 minutes. At this stage, sieve it to remove all the spices, but add back the onion and ginger to the now spice-free broth. The spices have infused your broth enough and you don’t want them to be overpowering. Let it gently simmer for about 20 minutes. You can now start the assembly of your dish.
- Once the time is up and just before serving, turn the heat up so it boils for a quick minute. This will ensure the broth is warm enough to cook the meat.
- Cook your noodles as per packet instruction. Be careful not to overcook them, as the warm broth will be poured over them and they will cook a bit further. Once cooked, drain them and reserve.
- Slice your beef as thinly as possible (you can freeze it for 10 minutes before to help this process if you want). Chop the scallions, cilantro and onions.
- In a large bowl, put your warm noodles in the center. Place the beef on one side. Scatter the onions, scallions and cilantro.
- Pour the warm broth over the noodles and beef. The heat will gently cook the beef to a medium rare temperature.
- Serve with some sriracha and hoisin sauces so you can dip your meat while you eat. Squeeze some lime juice, garnish with bean sprouts, basil leaves and some chopped chili.
- If you would prefer a chicken Phở, replace the beef stock with chicken stock, and cook the chicken before assembling your dish (as the broth might not be warm enough to cook chicken meat completely).