Vietnamese Pho Soup

Something you may not know, is that my mum grew up in Saigon in the 60's before relocating to France, so Pho has always been part of my family's culinary repertoire. The good news is that making your own fabulous bowl of Vietnamese pho at home is not hard, all you need is a straightforward recipe and a nice big stockpot. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles and meat and you'll be in Pho heaven!

Ingredients (Serves 6)

1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 large 10cm piece of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
5 star anise
4 whole cloves (spice)
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cardamom pods
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1.5kg beef brisket
1kg beef meaty bones
1kg marrow bones
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tsp fish sauce
300g rib eye fillet, lightly frozen to very thinly slice
1 pack rice noodles
Fresh mint/ basil
Bean sprouts
2 limes
Red chili or hot sauce


1. Place onion and ginger in a dry hot pan cut side down. Cook for a few minutes until charred. Remove and set aside. Toast Spices for 3 minutes and set aside.
2. Place bones & brisket in a large stock pot, cover with water and boil on high heat for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse well under tap water to remove impurities for a clearer broth.
3. Wipe pot clean and add clean bones and brisket back in, with onion, ginger, spices and cover with 3 litres of water. Add sugar and salt, cover with lid and simmer for 3 hours.
4. Remove brisket, which should be fall-apart tender, set aside and refrigerate for later. Simmer the rest uncovered for a further 40 minutes.
5. Strain broth into another pot, discard bones, vegetables, and spices. Add fish sauce and season with more salt and sugar if needed and keep warm on low heat.
6. To assemble the soup, prepare rice noodles per packet, place noodles in bowl. Top with bean sprouts, thinly sliced raw beef and brisket and ladle over hot broth to cook the meat. Serve with extra bean sprouts, fresh herbs, lime and hot sauce.

Extra Tips:

  • The inclusion of the beef brisket is really key to obtain an authentic strong beefy flavour. Leftover cooked meat can be shredded can be frozen and can be used later in all sorts of aromatic dishes, such as rice paper rolls, dumplings, and vermicelli salad.
  • If you prefer not using raw meat in the broth, you are welcome to use pre-cooked shredded beef brisket instead.
  • If you don’t have whole spices at hand, feel free to substitute their ground equivalents.
  • In order to slice the beef as thinly as possible, pop the meat in the freezer for 45 minutes, then use a sharp knife to thinly slice the meat before adding it to the soup.

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