Serves a Crowd

Pho Bo - Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

March 10, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

This recipe is adapted from the Steamy Kitchen. I have been eating Pho for quite some time and this is a great recipe that, while time consuming, is not difficult. It just take a lot of waiting. —Carnivore&Vegetarian

What You'll Need
  • Broth
  • 2 yellow onions, halved
  • 3" piece of ginger, halved
  • 5 pounds beef bones, knuckle and leg
  • 6-7 quarts cold water
  • 8 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1.5 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • mesh pouch or cheese cloth
  • Garnish/Bowls
  • 2 pounds rice noodles
  • 2/3 pound lean meat, sirloin, rib eye, thinly sliced against grain
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch thai basil
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 pound bean sprouts
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • sriracha sauce
  • hoisin sauce
  • 2 japapenos, sliced (optional)
  1. To prepare spices, place in a small pan over low heat and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Place spices into a mesh bag or wrap in cheese cloth and tie at top.
  2. Preheat broiler to high. Place onions and ginger onto a baking sheet and brush with cooking oil or spray. Place in oven on highest rack and cook, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes, until charred
  3. While broiling, fill a 10-12 quart stock pot with cold water. Bring to boil and add bones. Keeping a strong boil, cook for 10 minutes. Drain pot, rinse bones, and clean pot. Refill pot with bones and 6 quarts of cold water, don't worry about being exact. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, skim off any fat that rises with strainer or ladle.
  4. Once bones are boiling, add onions, sugar, fish sauce, salt and spice pack. Simmer, uncovered for 3-3.5 hours. Strain broth into another large pot. Taste broth and if more flavor is needed add pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Repeat if needed.
  5. If you are eating soup immediately following the above steps, skip this step. Let pot cool and store in refrigerator overnight. The top will form a layer of fat. Skim fat and then bring to a boil and prepare bowls.
  6. Place steak into freezer for 15-20 minutes and then slice as thin as possible against the grains. Cook noodles according to package, however, if dry, you may cook them slightly al dente as they will finish cooking in the bowl.
  7. Once broth has reached a boil, fill each bowl with noodles, some sliced onions, cilantro, green onions, mint and some of the beef wrapped in the center. Create a platter of lime wedges, jalapenos, basil, bean sprouts.
  8. Ladle broth into each bowl. The broth will cook the beef. Garnish your soup with your desired sauces and sides. Enjoy!!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • sevenfaces
  • Fran McGinty
    Fran McGinty
  • Carnivore&Vegetarian
  • AntoniaJames

13 Reviews

sevenfaces October 6, 2014
Long time pho eater, first time pho maker. So pleased with the results!! I swapped the cardamom pods for lots of coriander seeds because that's what I had in the pantry. I used back / rib beef bones that had some meat and tendons on them, picked it all off once everything had boiled for 4 hours, and added it back to the bowls when I was assembling them for dinner - so good! Happy slurping all round, thanks for sharing this recipe! :)
Carnivore&Vegetarian October 6, 2014
Very glad that it came out for you. I like the idea of using bones with meat on them, would intensify the flavor even more.
Fran M. February 23, 2011
I just finished making my broth and it tastes great. I saved the marrow from inside the bones do you guys throw that in too after it's been strained? I hate to throw out good marrow.
Carnivore&Vegetarian February 23, 2011
I don't add it to the soup. You could roast those bones (with marrow inside) and then serve on some toast points with garlic and a little sea salt. that is tasty
Carnivore&Vegetarian February 23, 2011
@Fran - I hope you enjoy! Feel free to post your comments after too.
Fran M. February 23, 2011
I just found this and cannot wait to try this. It sounds fantastic.
AntoniaJames February 23, 2011
I've tried quite a few beef pho recipes and this is my favorite! Our freezer is regularly stocked with the broth, in fact. When I buy the beef bones, I also buy some steak, which I freeze and mark for pho use only. It's one of my favorite quick dinners!! ;o)
Carnivore&Vegetarian January 20, 2011
glad you enjoyed it!!
AntoniaJames January 20, 2011
Great, great recipe! I made the beef broth a few months ago and froze it, then defrosted some and made the soup last night, refreshing the broth with a couple tablespoons each of fish sauce and ketjap manis, and the juice of half a lime (for two large servings). Garnished only with cilantro and not Thai basil or mint, as that's all I had handy. Delicious!! ;o)
Carnivore&Vegetarian March 12, 2010
You actually don't lose any flavor. You are boiling them at first to remove any scum and impurities that you don't want in your soup. Often times there is lots of dirt and scum on the outside of those bones and this gets rid of that. I wondered that myself before too
AntoniaJames March 12, 2010
Don't you lose a lot of the flavor of the bones by boiling them hard for ten minutes, then throwing that water away? Why do you do that? Have you ever made this without that initial step? I find it so puzzling . . . . . . . .
Carnivore&Vegetarian March 10, 2010
The only reason i rec'd those types is because they have more marrow inside them, so there will be more flavor released into the broth. If you have an ethnic supermarket near by, you could try there.

and you're welcome!
AntoniaJames March 10, 2010
Is there some reason why you recommend knuckle and leg bones for the broth? I can easily get neck bones, but am not so sure about the knuckle/leg . . . . Thanks! Very nice recipe, by the way. We are big fans of pho here, so I'd like to try this!!