Pho Bo- Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

Good Morning all the Egg Timer readers! 

You are becoming a larger group everyday!  I am so very thankful for all of you.  Thankful for all of the new followers and feed subscribers.  Thankful for the great bloggers who have welcomed me with encouraging and warm arms (or emails). 

What do you cook for Thanksgiving?  Most families will do the turkey, potatoes, gravy, yams, pumpkin pie, etc...  Some do not.  Especially if you or your parents were not born or from the U.S.  Many families will be cooking their traditional meals from where they are from.  Maybe you have some that you add to your table along with the turkey?  Vietnamese are known for Pho Bo, Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup.  I made this for for my family this weekend, amongst many weekends.  I used to be very intimidated by making Pho.  (Pronounced "Fuh?" Say it like you are asking a question).  It's quite easy to make once you break it down.  It is a very warming yet light soup, perfect for any weekend to stay home and impress your loved ones.

Pho Bo- Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
Print recipe here

3 lbs grass fed beef soup bone- neck, rib, marrow, oxtail
1 lb eye of round, top sirloin, flank steak or tripe beef- sliced paper thin (Kitchen Technique #7)
2 package of asian beef meat balls or beef tendon meat balls (Thit Bo Vien), in freezer section

2 package of Vietnamese Flat Thin Rice Noodles (Banh ho Tuo)- buy the ready-made ones in the refrigerated section

2 stick of cinnamon
18 cloves, studded into an onion
8 star anise pods
1 tsp coriander seeds (mounded tsp)
1/8 tsp cardamom seeds or 3 cardamom pods (mounded tsp)
A 3-inch knob of ginger
6 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot, cut into 3 inch sections

1 medium daikon, cut into 3 inch sections (looks like a albino carrot)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp raw cane sugar

Bean sprouts
Thai basil (This is the purple stem one)
Vietnamese Sawtooth herb, also call Culantro (not to be confused with Cilantro)
Onion, sliced paper thin
Green Onion
Limes, halved then quartered
Hoisin Sauce
Sriracha Chili Sauce
Jalapenos or Serrano peppers, sliced

Day 1:

1. Wash beef marrow bones and place them in a large sauce pan or small pot, pour water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, once boiling turn down to medium heat and continue to boil for 10 minutes. This allows the bones to release any impurities, the “gunk” will rise to the surface of the water and look like a very dirty bubble bath. (Ew,this is why you should use grass fed organic beef, especially when using soup bones. It yields much better broth flavor too.)

2. While the beef bones are boiling. Time for prep. Turn oven to broil, cut 1 large onion in half , two 1 inch pieces of ginger and place on a baking sheet. Broil in oven for 10-15 minutes checking and turning halfway through. They should be nice and roasted. Remove from oven and set aside.  If you have a gas stove or live somewhere warm all the time and can get to your gas grill- you can roast and toast these over a flame too.

3. Now in goes all the spices. Place cinnamon stick, cloves, anise, coriander and cardamom on baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes to a slight char. Remove from oven and place into a large metal, mesh spice/ tea ball. Set aside.  Same goes for these if you have a gas stove or grill.

4. Remove bones with tongs, rinse them and place into a clean larger stockpot. Place carrot, daikon, garlic, salt and spice ball into the pot. Fill the pot with water until it is 1 inch from the top! Turn the heat to high again and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down to medium-low and simmer for a minimum of 2 hours. Longer the all day...

5. When done simmering, turn off heat, remove from hot burner and let cool. Cover with lid (or dinner plate) and put into the refrigerator overnight.  And if your us- eat a bowl.

Day 2:

1. In the morning when you wake, check on your broth and the fat will have raised to the top and hardened for easy removal. Just scoop off with a spoon ad toss.

2. Place stockpot back onto the stove and heat over high heat. Once again, when boiling turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for another minimum of 2 hours up to all day long.

3. When you are ready to eat, remove bones from soup. If there is any meat left on the bones, remove and put back into the soup. Cut meatballs in half and add these to the broth also.

4. It is now time to slice the other beef- eye of round, top sirloin, flank steak or tripe beef- sliced paper thin (Kitchen Technique #7). Put the thawed beef into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up before slicing. This will allow you to cut the beef very thin without it getting all wiggly and mangled on you....much easier! Use this technique for stir fry too! When sliced, place onto a plate and set aside.

5. Prepare your fresh veg/ herb plate. On a large plate put some sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, culantro, onion, green onion, limes and jalapenos. Place your Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha Chili Sauce on the table.

6. Turn the burner back up to high heat to start putting the bowls together. In a large soup bowl place the prepared refrigerated noodles and desired amount of raw slices of beef. Once broth is boiling, ladle the hot broth and meatballs over the noodles and beef. The beef slices will now cook (don’t worry! I would never tell you to eat raw meat).

7. Find your spot at the table and top your bowl with all the fresh veg/ herb you wish. Squeeze a bit of lime, Hoisin, and Sriracha and stir.

8. Eat with chopsticks and an asian soup spoon. Phew!  Now go enjoy your nourishing bowl of Pho, you deserve it!

Do you add any culturally traditional or special dishes to your Thanksgiving table?  What will you be making next Thursday that might be different than other tables?

Today's recipes where brought to you by, inspired or adapted from:  The Wandering Chopstick, thanks for the great instructions and helping me defeat my fear of this easy meal.


  1. this is so lovely i would love to have some :) thanks for sharing this.

  2. Okay, Natasha, I'm gonna tell you straight, I'm lazy and am just gonna wait 'til you invite me over and make this. :)

    Btw, we're pretty traditional.

  3. Wow this is some soup! Lots of work but looks delcious. Love all the flavors involved!

  4. I had no idea there were so many aromatics in Pho? My brother has a friend of vietnamese descent and his dad makes Pho all the time. He raves about it!