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Pho Bo – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

If you’ve been following this blog for a while (Thank You!) you’ll have realised that I’m quite a fan of Asian food and I just love the noodle broths that come out of the different areas. So far I’ve done a couple of Japanese Ramen and a Malaysian Laksa so I thought I’d try out the Vietnamese favourite, pho.

I’ve had this in Tampopo and I didn’t like it too much. I thought it was too fragrant (as I do with most of their food) but then I had it from one of our local takeaways, Viet-Thai, and it was delicious. This recipe was supposed to serve 2, have 15 minutes prep and 5 minutes cooking time.

I got this recipe from Food.com but the poster states it was from a cookbook, unfortunately the title isn’t mentioned but you can see it here.



Ready to Cook!


  • 225g flat rice noodles
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 150g filet of beef , very finely sliced

For the broth

  • 850ml beef stock
  • 50g piece fresh ginger , cut into matchsticks
  • 1 stick cinnamon bark
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 piece star anise
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

To serve

  • Hoisin sauce, to taste
  • Chilli sauce, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
  • Small bunch Thai basil

Method of Preparation:

  1. Make the broth by bringing the stock to a boil.
  2. Add the ginger, cinnamon, coriander seeds and star anise.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the sugar, salt, pepper and fish sauce.
  4. Strain the broth and return to the pan, keeping hot over a low heat.
  5. Boil a pan of water and cook the noodles until al dente.
  6. When you put the noodles in the water, put the beef in the hot broth to cook. You don’t need to boil it. The beef will cook just from the heat of the broth because it is so thinly sliced.
  7. Drain and divide the noodles among individual bowls.
  8. Add a handful of beansprouts, some shallots and coriander.
  9. Ladle the hot broth and beef over.
  10. At the table, each person can add the hoisin sauce, chilli sauce, lime juice, fresh chilli and basil to taste.

Loved it! Simple as that, we both did. This was a really pleasant dish with subtle ginger and beef tones that are really well complemented by the chilli, lime, the basil and the chilli sauce (we were out of hoisin). It tokk me a little longer than the recipe suggests but when says it only takes 5 mins to cook and then wants you to simmer the broth for 15 mins you know you’re going to have to be flexible.

There was one thing. The recipe asks for ginger cut into matchsticks but we keep ours in the freezer and it’s like concrete when it’s frozen so I just hacked off something near 50g and finely grated it. We do this because you can grate the frozen ginger and only the edible centre comes through the fine teeth of the grater. Turns out it didn’t matter that much as I was still able to catch it in a sieve when I strained it.


If you’re aware of any more of these types of dishes please let me know as I would love to give them a go.


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