When we first started this podcast, we got a letter from listener Linda Nguyen. She had heard us talking about our love for pho and told us that her dream was to make it for us someday. We read that letter on our seventh podcast and over a year later, we finally had Linda's pho! She and her husband Leon generously opened their home to us and not only served us pho, they had our favorite drinks waiting for us -- Diet P
epsi and A&W Root Beer! And knowing Kellie's love for fortune cookies, Linda even had those, too.
We loved Linda's pho so much, we asked her to share the recipe with our podcast listeners, and here it is! Thank you again, Linda and Leon!
Ingredients for the Pho broth
1 yellow onion peeled
4 inch piece fresh ginger unpeeled, sliced in half
5 pounds beef bones
6 quarts water
3 star anise – purchase at any Asian Market
2 cinnamon sticks – purchase at any Asian Market
1 tablespoon coriander seeds optional - purchase at any Asian Market
1 pound of beef brisket
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar or 1-inch chunk of yellow rock sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
For the Pho Bowls
2 pounds small flat rice noodles dried or fresh
Cooked beef from the broth
1/2 pound chuck tender roast (I buy it from Walmart – it’s the best and fresh) thinly sliced
1 yellow onion sliced paper-thin, scallions (green onion) sliced thin, cilantro – sliced thin, and purple onions – sliced thin
Garnish for Pho Recipe
3 cups fresh bean sprouts about 1/2 pound
2 limes cut into wedges
Make the Pho Broth
Boil beef bones: Fill a large stockpot (about 12 quart capacity) with water and bring to rapid boil. Carefully lower in the bones. Boil vigorously for 3 minutes to release the impurities. Dump bones and water into a clean sink, and rinse the bones with water to wash off any clinging residue.
Quickly scrub pot clean and fill with about 6 quarts of clean water. Return bones to pot. Add the onion, ginger, spices, beef brisket, fish sauce, and sugar to pot.
Bring water to boil over high heat, and lower heat to gentle simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 2.5 hours. Take the beef brisket out and let it cool, still boil the soup though.
While simmering, use a ladle or fine-mesh strainer to spoon off any scum that rises on top.
Boil the soup for 8 – 10 hours. The longer you cook it the better the PHO. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve positioned over a pot. Discard the remaining solids. Use ladle or fine meshed skimmer to skim as much fat as possible from the top of the broth. Taste and adjust the flavor with salt, fish sauce and sugar. There should be about 4 quarts (16 cups) of broth.
Assemble the bowls
If using dried rice noodles, cover them with hot tap water and let them soak for 15 minutes.
Cut the cooked beef brisket across the grain into thin slices. Freeze the chuck tender roast for 15 minutes, then slice it across the grain into very thin slices. Set all beef aside. Ready the raw onion, scallions, cilantro leaves for adding to the bowls. Arrange the garnishes on a plate and put on the table.
To ensure good timing, bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat as you are assembling the bowls.
Top each bowl of noodles with cooked and raw beef, arranging the slices flat. Add a bit of raw onion, scallions, cilantro leaves to each bowl.
The pho broth needs to be boiling hot, to cook the raw beef slices. Raise the heat of the broth to a boil. Do a final taste and make any last minute adjustments with fish sauce and sugar. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve immediately with plate of garnishes.