Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup usually served in the morning. It’s a build-your-own type meal: you get a bowl of broth and noodles, then you choose which type of meat you want (some of which may be cooked by the nearly-boiling broth), and any accoutrements that you want, featuring fresh herbs, onions, peppers, and hoisin sauce and Sriracha.
- 5 lbs. beef bones (oxtails and chuck neck bones)
- Water to 2 gallons
- 2 medium onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2” knob of ginger
- Spices: either a phở spice pack, a tablespoon of Chinese five spice powder, or a mix of star anise, cinnamon, mace, white pepper, and one clove.
- 1 tbsp. Fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. Soy sauce
- Thin sliced onion
- Thin sliced jalapeno
- Sprigs of Thai or Vietnamese basil
- Sprigs of cilantro
- Slices of lime
- Fresh bean sprouts
- Thin-sliced lean steak (raw)
- Sliced brisket (cooked)
- Hoisin sauce
- Bánh phở or
- Maifun (rice sticks)
- Slice the onions in half, peel the ginger and garlic, and roast them briefly under the broiler until they start to blacken
- Put the bones in a large stock pot (~2 gallons) and fill to within a few inches from the top. Add the spices, onions, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil for a few minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Maintain the simmer for 5-10 hours, or overnight.
- Strain the broth. Lift out the bones and onions and such with a spider, then pour the broth through a cheesecloth-lined colander into another pot, leaving you with perhaps five quarts of cleared broth.
- Add the fish and soy sauces, then add salt to taste.
- Before serving, prepare the noodles according to the package and add them to a bowl. Add the meat on top. Bring the broth to a boil and ladle over the top of the mix - the fresh-from-the-pot broth should cook the thin sliced steak if used.
- Serve with a plate of accoutrements and sauces.
You will make enough broth to serve quite a few people, but it keeps well, and you can have phở for days to come. Serve in the morning with tea, or in the evening with a very cold beer.