Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Soups)

Beef Pho Recipe

(Herbal Beef Soup)

Pho, the famous noodle soup of Hanoi and considered by some to be Vietnam's national dish, is a common breakfast or snack. Steaming bowls of soup, often topped with chopped cooked chicken instead of the more expensive rare beef, are sold from numerous food stalls and small restaurants in city streets.

The success of this dish depends on the full-flavored stock, for which there is no quick substitute. Even though it takes a long time to cook, it is well worth the effort. The stock can be made in advance and frozen, making it easy to put the dish together when required.

Ingredients : Serves 4

1 kg

350 g

5 cm

1 teaspoon

2.5 liters





2 tablespoons

400 g

150 g



Beef shin bones

Gravy beef

Fresh ginger, thinly sliced into 2 in length



Black peppercorns

Cinnamon sticks


Coriander seeds

Nuoc cham sauce

Thick fresh rice noodles

Rump steak, thinly sliced

Spring onions (scallions), finely chopped

Medium onion, very thinly sliced

Method :
  • Place the bones, gravy beef, ginger, salt and water in a large pan.

  • Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently, uncovered, for 3 1/2 hours.

  • Skim off any scum that forms on the surface.

  • Add the peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds and nuoc cham sauce. Cook for another 40 minutes.

  • Remove the gravy beef and set it aside to cool.

  • Drain the stock, reserving all the liquid and discarding the bones and spices. Return the liquid to the pan. When the gravy beef is cool enough to handle, cut it against the grain into very fine slices. Set aside.

  • Close to serving time, plunge the noodles into a pan of boiling water and cook them for about 10 seconds only, otherwise they will soften and fall apart. Drain the noodles well and divide them among large individual soup bowls.

  • Arrange the toppings on a platter in the centre of the table.

  • Bring the beef stock to a rapid boil. Place some slices of the cooked meat as well as a few slices of the raw steak into each bowl of noodles. Ladle the boiling stock over the top, sprinkle over the spring onion (scallion) and onion slides and serve. Each diner chooses their own toppings and can also add sauces such as sweet chili sauce and hoisin sauce to their dish.


Chopped red chili, bean sprouts, fresh purple basil leaves, chopped spring onions (scallions), thin lime wedges, fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves.

Chili sauce and hoisin sauce (optional)

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