Halo Zeromedia! Do you love Vietnamese cuisine and wonder how to make the iconic dish called pho? Pho is a noodle soup that originated in northern Vietnam, and it has become a beloved dish across the globe due to its savory broth, tender meats, and fragrant herbs. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making pho from scratch, including the ingredients, equipment, and steps to follow. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Making the Broth
- Preparing the Noodles
- Cooking the Meat
- Assembly and Serving
To make pho, you will need the following ingredients:
- 4-5 pounds of beef bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
- 1-2 pounds of beef brisket, sirloin, or flank steak
- 1 onion, halved and charred
- 3-4 inches of ginger, sliced and charred
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6-8 star anise pods
- 4-6 cloves
- 1 black cardamom pod (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 package of rice noodles
- 1 bunch of scallions, sliced
- 1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Bean sprouts, Thai basil, and hoisin sauce for garnish (optional)
To make pho, you will need the following equipment:
- A large stockpot (12-16 quarts)
- A fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- A large bowl or pot for soaking and cooking the noodles
- A sharp knife for slicing the meat
- Bowls, chopsticks, and spoons for serving
Making the Broth
The broth is the most important part of pho, and it requires a long simmering time to extract the flavors from the bones and spices. Here is the step-by-step process:
Step 1: Roasting the Spices
Preheat your oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, place the cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, cloves, black cardamom pod (if using), coriander seeds, and fennel seeds. Roast the spices for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
Step 2: Boiling the Bones
Rinse the beef bones under cold water to remove any blood or debris. Place them in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil vigorously for 5 minutes. Drain the bones and rinse them again.
Step 3: Skimming the Impurities
Refill the stockpot with water and add the bones, onion halves, and ginger slices. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Use a ladle or spoon to skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface. Discard the impurities.
Step 4: Adding the Spices and Simmering
Add the roasted spices, fish sauce, and sugar to the stockpot. Simmer the broth for 2-3 hours, or until the bones release their flavor and the broth turns a deep brown color. Keep an eye on the water level and add more hot water if needed.
Step 5: Straining and Seasoning the Broth
Once the broth is done, remove the bones, onion, and ginger with a slotted spoon or tongs. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth into another pot or bowl. Discard the solids. Season the broth with salt to taste.
Preparing the Noodles
While the broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Typically, you need to soak the noodles in hot water for 20-30 minutes until they soften. Then, you can boil them for 1-2 minutes until they are tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Keep the noodles warm in a pot or bowl covered with a damp towel.
Cooking the Meat
You can use various cuts of beef for pho, but the most common ones are brisket, sirloin, or flank steak. Slice the meat against the grain into thin pieces and set aside. You can either cook the meat by simmering it in the broth for a few minutes until it changes color, or by adding it raw to the serving bowls and pouring hot broth over it. The latter method is more popular and allows you to control the doneness of the meat.
Assembly and Serving
To assemble the pho, place a portion of cooked noodles in a bowl. Add some sliced meat on top of the noodles. Pour the hot broth over the meat and noodles until the bowl is almost full. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, and lime wedges. You can also add bean sprouts, Thai basil, and hoisin sauce to taste. Serve the pho hot with chopsticks and a spoon.
What if I don’t eat beef?
You can make pho with chicken, pork, or even tofu as your protein source. Simply substitute the beef bones and meat with chicken or pork bones, or use vegetarian broth instead.
Can I freeze the broth and noodles for later?
Yes, you can freeze both the broth and the noodles separately for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply place them in the fridge overnight or in a pot of hot water until they are warm.
What if I don’t have all the spices listed?
You can still make a delicious pho broth with a simplified spice blend of cinnamon, star anise, and black pepper. Feel free to experiment with other spices and herbs that you enjoy.
Goodbye, and we hope you enjoy your homemade pho!