Cooking time: 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours or about 30 minutes with prepared broth
Perhaps no Vietnamese dish is better known around the world than “pho,” the satisfying soup consisting of delicious spiced broth, noodles and meat, garnished with fresh herbs, chilies and lime.
To make authentic pho with the best flavor, you should make the beef broth yourself. However, you can simplify the recipe and shorten the preparation time by using good-quality commercially-prepared stock. Start with about 1 1/2 - 2 liters (6-8 cups) and simmer it with the spices and flavorings for at least 15 minutes before preceding. If the stock is already salted, omit the salt and be sparing with the nuoc mam.
- To make the broth, place the quartered onion (unpeeled), stewing beef and beef bones into an oiled roasting pan.
- Roast in a 230° C (450° F) oven for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well browned.
- Transfer the onion, stewing beef and bones to a large pot.
- Pour some of the water into the roasting pan, scraping the pan well to dissolve all the browned juices and add to the pot with the remaining water, the ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, salt and fish sauce.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, skimming the surface as necessary. After an hour, remove the stewing beef and set aside.
- Continue simmering the broth for 1-2 hours longer, adding more water if required. Strain, correct the seasoning and keep hot.
- About 15 minutes before serving, soak the rice noodles in hot water for about 15 minutes until tender but not mushy. Place some of the noodles into each serving bowl.
- Top with some of the sliced cooked stewing beef, some thin slices of raw steak, a little sliced raw onion, scallion and cilantro.
- Return the beef broth to a boil. Ladle the boiling broth over the ingredients in each bowl.
- Serve immediately, passing a platter with the fresh herbs, bean sprouts, chilies and lime, so that guests can garnish their bowls as desired.
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