After a rough day, on a cold evening, when you’re not feeling the greatest or you just want something to warm you up, look no further! This is a quick style Vietnamese soup that you’re bound to fall in love with!
Disclaimer Alert: This is not authentic Vietnamese Pho (pronounced “fuh“). My quick version of this traditional dish is simply the just-as-tasty, quick and easy route to satisfy those sudden cravings.
What Is Pho?
Pho is an extremely comforting, flavourful beef broth ladled over rice noodles and thinly sliced beef. It’s a popular dish in Vietnam, and served all around the world.
Traditional Pho vs. Quick Pho
Although we enjoy the tender meats and all the crunchy, spicy, herby garnishes we toss on top, Pho is ALL about the broth – there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Traditional Pho could take several hours or even, dare I say, days to prepare. In many Asian broth style soups, the clarity of the broth speaks volumes. The broth should be flavourful, and clear in colour – not dark or cloudy. This takes time, yes, time and special techniques. Did I mention time?! Many of us don’t have the patience or hours in a day to make this dish traditionally so we either take a trip to our little mom-and-pop Pho restaurant down the road, or turn to these quick, short-cut versions.
Make it Vegetarian! You can definitely make this dish vegetarian by omitting all things beef and substituting with additional veggies and a vegetable broth! Carrots, broccoli florets, bok choy, tofu, and enoki mushrooms (wonderful for some added texture) are great add-ins.
Chicken & Additional Meats – Pho is a super creative meal so you are not subjected to eating only one kind, be it beef, chicken or vegetarian. You can combine different cuts of beef, chicken and vegetables to create the dish of your liking. You may want to play around with different aromatics, as some are excluded/included when making certain types of Pho.
Quick Style Vietnamese Beef Noodle Pho
- 7 cups Beef Broth Beef Bouillon or Base also works
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- Fresh Ginger 4-inch piece sliced in half
- ½ Large Yellow Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 3-4 Star Anise whole
- 5 Cloves whole
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks 3-inches whole
- Flank Steak London Broil, Round or Rib Eye thinly sliced
- Fresh Herbs – Cilantro Basil, Thai Basil, Mint, or a mix
- Bean Sprouts
- Jalapeños Serrano, or Chili Peppers
- Lime Wedges
- Hoisin Sauce
- Sriracha Sauce
- Cheesecloth optional
- With a sharp knife, cut the onion and ginger in half, down its length.
- Peel the garlic cloves by crushing them lightly with the flat of a knife and the heel of your hand.
- On a baking sheet, place the onions, ginger and garlic in the oven under a broiler for 3-5 minutes each side, or use a high flame on a gas stove. Ensure pieces are charred in spots. If there are any overly charred bits, remove and set aside.
- Place the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves in a saucepan and toast over medium-low heat until fragrant, approx. 2 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning then remove from heat and set aside.
- Wrap the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it in a satchel. Do the same for the ginger and garlic.
- In a mixing bowl, add the noodles and cover in cool/lukewarm water.
- In a large stockpot, add the broth, onion and both satchels. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. You want to give the spices and aromatics some time to infuse into the broth!
- At the 30-minute mark, taste the broth to see if the spice flavours have infused into the broth; adjust seasonings if necessary. Remove the satchels between the 30 and 45 minute mark.
- Prepare the beef (mine came pre-cut). Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. See notes section for additional tips.
- Prepare the remaining toppings: thinly sliced yellow onions, scallions and peppers. Place on a serving dish. Add bean sprouts, lime wedges and herbs to the serving dish.
- In another large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking, or evenly divide into individual bowls. See notes section for additional tips.
- Once the broth has finished (flavours infused) and you are ready to serve, prepare the Pho bowls. Note: The broth needs to be hot, to cook the beef.
- Layer the noodles and raw beef (in a single layer to ensure even cooking) then ladle on broth and other toppings as desired.
- Dig in & enjoy!
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.