Having been raised in a Vietnamese household, I can never get enough of pho. For those who have not gotten to experience its deliciousness, pho (pronounced like “fuh” and not “foh”) is a Vietnamese noodle soup containing rice noodles, herbs, and either beef or chicken. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods and always reminds me of home, and so, having my mom teach me how to make it now that I have moved out has allowed me to take a piece of home with me. Some might argue, “Why not go out and get pho at a restaurant?”, but many pho restaurants I’ve encountered can’t beat the flavor of home-cooked pho. So if you ever get tired of the same old Cup Noodles for dinner and you just want to enjoy something new--or intimately familiar--my mom’s recipe will not disappoint.
Before I get into the recipe, however, I just want to note that the process of making pho definitely did seem daunting to me because of the amount of prep and unfamiliar ingredients that go into it, but when you break it down into manageable steps, it’s pretty straightforward. Also, you can save time by multi-tasking--for example, cook the rice noodles while the broth is coming to a boil. Pho might not be the quickest meal to make, but I believe it is completely worth it.
My Momma’s Pho (4 servings)
- 1 onion (unpeeled, cut in half)
- 1 medium-sized ginger stalk
- 1 table spoon salt
- 2 pods star anise
- 5-6 table spoons of beef-flavored pho soup base* (adjust depending on how salty you like your soup)
- 2 cans store-bought chicken broth
- 4 quarts water
- 1 package dried rice noodles
- 1.5 lbs beef top sirloin, thinly sliced
- Green onion
- Bean sprouts
- Thai basil
- Hoisin sauce, Sriracha
*Normally, beef bones are used to make the broth sweet, but to save time and money, using a beef-flavored pho soup base, which you can get on Amazon for $8.25, as well as chicken broth will still achieve the classic pho flavor.
1. Soak rice noodles in a large bowl of room temp water for about ~1 hour. 2. Roast onion on a baking sheet in preheated oven (or toasted oven) for ~25 min at 350°F, until soft and brown. 3. For the ginger, my mom suggests using a meat tenderizer or any sort of hammer-like item to flatten the ginger just a tad so that its flavor can better be infused into the broth. 4. Put the onion, ginger, salt, star anise, soup base, chicken broth, and water (goes last) in a large pot. (Another tip from my mom: If you want to achieve a sweeter broth, add chunks of carrots and corn.) Let this come to a boil. 5. While the broth is coming to a boil, bring a separate large pot of water to a boil and then place the rice noodles in for 1 minute. 6. Now it’s time to serve- place noodles and beef in a bowl and pour the hot broth over the top. Let it sit for just a minute so that the beef can cook. Top your pho off with green onions, bean sprouts, Thai basil, and lime. Optional- serve with hoisin sauce and Sriracha on the side. 7. And of course, enjoy!