This may well be considered Vietnam's
national dish. The Vietnamese eat it at any time of the day, but it is
especially popular as a breakfast food. What makes this soup so
convenient is that you can cook it ahead of time, storing the stock in
one container and the remaining ingredients in another. You need only
recombine and reheat it before serving. A delicious pho recipe.
Serves 6 - 8
Onions, unpeeled, halved, and studded with 8 whole cloves
Fresh ginger, unpeeled
Whole peppercorns, crushed
Rice stick noodles (yields 7 cups)
Beef sirloin or flank steak
Large onions, peeled and thinly sliced crossways
Bean sprouts, blanched
Limes or lemons, cut into 8 sections
Chilies, sliced crossways
Fresh coriander (cilantro), coarsely chopped
Fresh Thai basil leaves
Char the onions, shallots and ginger under
the grill until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Place into a large stockpot.
Add the water, oxtail, beef shank, star
anise, cinnamon, peppercorns and salt to the stockpot. Bring the mixture
to the boil over medium heat, skim the scum from the surface, and reduce
the heat to low. Cook for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, soak the noodles in warm water
for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring water to
cover to the boil and add the noodles. Drain immediately, rinse with
cold water, and portion the noodles among 8 large soup bowls.
Remove the beef shank and oxtail form the
stock, making sure these are tender. Thinly slice the sirloin or flank
steak into strips 5 x 2 1/2 x 1/3 cm (1 x 2 x /8 in) and set aside.
Season the soup with fish sauce and continue to cook over low heat. When
the meat is cool enough to handle, slice the beef shank into uniform
slices the same size as the sliced raw sirloin or flank steak. Discard
To serve, place a portion of noodles in a
soup bowl and layer the cooked and raw beef on top of the noodles. Then
place onion slices and bean sprouts on top of the meat. Ladle the hot
broth over the ingredients. garnish with several slices chilies and
fresh coriander. Repeat process for each serving. Pass the extra onions,
bean sprouts, fresh chilies, lime sections and basil on a platter.
Season with additional fish sauce, if needed.