Falling in love with beef noodle pho is so easy with its chewy noodles and savory broth. You will surely experience a gastronomic treat in just one bowl with the tender slices of beef that is complemented by the crunchiness of the fresh vegetable toppings. Here’s how to make quick Vietnamese Beef Pho Noodles.
For the broth:
2 large onions
4-inch piece fresh ginger
2 (3-inch) whole cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
6 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 pound sirloin steak, round eye, or London broil
8 ounces dried rice noodles (bahn pho, 1/16-, 1/8-, or 1/-4 inch wide)
1 chili pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño)
1 to 2 limes
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, Thai basil, mint, or a mix)
Hot sauce, Sriracha, or hoisin sauce, to serve
- Peel the onions and cut them into quarters through the root. Peel the ginger and slice it into quarters down its length.
- Using tongs, char the onions and ginger on all sides over high flame on a gas stove, or on a baking sheet placed directly under the broiler (about 5 minutes on each side) — until the onions and ginger pieces show charred spots. Rinse the pieces under cool water to remove any loose, gritty, overly charred bits.
- Dry-roast the spices by placing the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander seeds in the bottom of a dry 2-quart saucepan and dry-roast over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until toasty and very fragrant. Stir frequently to prevent the spices from scorching.
- Combine the broth ingredients to the pan with the spices, add the broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, chopped carrots, and the charred onions and ginger.
- While the broth is simmering, put the beef on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 minutes. The edges of the beef should feel firm to the touch, but the beef should not be frozen through. This will make it easier to slice the beef thinly.
- Remove the beef from the freezer and immediately use your sharpest knife to slice the beef into very thin slices. Slice across the grain, and aim for slices no thicker than 1/4-inch. Once sliced, keep the beef covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Bring a second saucepan of water to a boil, drop in the rice noodles and cook according to package instructions (typically 1 minute for very thin noodles and up to 4 minutes for wider noodles). Strain the noodles and run them under cool water to stop cooking. The noodles will start to stick together after cooking, so either divide them immediately between serving bowls or toss them with a little neutral-tasting oil to prevent sticking.
- Thinly slice the scallions and the chili pepper. Cut the lime into wedges. Place the bean sprouts in a serving dish. Roughly chop the herbs or tear them with your hands. Arrange all the toppings on a serving dish and place it on the table.
- When the broth is ready, set a strainer over another bowl or saucepan, and strain the solids from the broth. Discard the solids. Place the broth back over low heat and keep it just below a simmer — you should see a fair amount of steam, but the broth should not be boiling. The broth needs to be quite hot to cook the beef.
- If you haven’t already done so, divide the noodles between serving bowls and top with a few slices of raw beef. Arrange the beef in a single layer so that the slices will cook evenly in the broth; slices that are stacked or clumped may not cook all the way through.
- Ladle the steaming broth into each bowl, pouring it evenly over the beef in order to cook it. The beef should immediately start to turn opaque. Fill each bowl with as much broth as desired.
- Serve the pho at the table and let each person top their bowl as they like.