This quick beef pho recipe is ideal for times when you have a craving but not the time nor effort to make it traditionally. It is basically a bowl of noodle soup that is flavoured with beef, toasted aromatics and spices. Normally taking at least 6 hours to prepare, this bowl of pure comfort can be on the table in 50 minutes for you and your family to enjoy.
After a week off the blog, we are back. We have used this time to recharge and complete some tasks around the house that we have been holding off for waaaaaaaay too long. So without further ado, lets get into it!
Getting Good Flavour with Store Bought Stock
The problem most people have with store bought stock is that it is too dark and has flavours (carrots / leek) that are not used in pho. So we comprised a list of suggestions to get great pho flavour using generic store bought stock.
- Half & half – We have found that using a 1:1 ratio of beef and chicken stock makes the pho broth clearer, sweeter and more delicious.
- Char the onions and ginger – Get the smoky flavour into your pho broth.
- Toast the aromatics – This will greatly increase the aroma you can extract from the spices.
- Adding chuck steak – We believe it is necessary to add beef steak to improve the richness and depth of flavour of the pho broth.
- Don’t skimp on the broth – Ok this is going to sound stupid but the amount of broth you have in the bowls matters. This is because the moisture from the noodles and garnishes will dilute the flavour of the pho broth. So, go easy on the noodles and fill those bowls up with delicious broth!
My Tips for Success
- If you don’t like the sight of raw meat, then blanch them in the pho broth first before adding them into the bowls.
- Make sure the water is boiling before adding the beef chunks. This will help stop scum from forming and making your broth cloudy.
- If you are having trouble cutting the meat thinly, then put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- I strongly recommend using the liquid stock over the powdered version. The powdered version will taste very artificial.
- In this post I have used dried banh pho noodles but I personally like the fresh rice noodles better. Fresh rice noodles are available at most Asian groceries.
- If you find raw onion too overpowering, soak them in water for a few minutes.
- I really hate serving cold food when it is suppose to be hot. So, I usually pour boiling water into the bowls first to warm them up before serving. I know… it sounds bat sh!t crazy and way over the top. But you will be surprised how much of a difference it makes! Well, to me anyway.
- If you are looking to minimise as much prep work as you can then you can buy packs of beef slices for pho (usually marketed for hotpot) at Asian groceries.
Recipe Costing (Australia)
This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).
We haven’t included optional ingredients or small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.
|Recipe Needs||Recipe |
|Chicken Stock||1 L carton||$1.90||1 L||$1.90|
|Beef Stock||1 L carton||$1.90||1 L||$1.90|
|Beef Chuck Steak||350 gm at $14/kg||$4.90||approx 300 gm||$4.90|
|Beef Flank Steak||340 gm at $19/kg||$6.46||approx 300 gm||$6.46|
|Rice Noodles||2 x 250 gm packet||$4.00||500 gm||$4.00|
|Star Anise||12 gm packet||$2.25||4||$0.60|
|Cloves||15 gm packet||$1.80||2 cloves||$0.01|
|Cinnamon Stick||12 gm packet||$2.95||1 stick||$0.74|
|Ginger||1 at $25/kg||$3.60||30 gm||$0.90|
|Fish Sauce||300 ml bottle||$3.00||2 tbsp||$0.30|
|Spring Onions||1 bunch||$2.00||1/5 bunch||$0.25|
|Bean Sprouts||250 gm packet||$2.00||1/2 packet||$1.00|
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Quick Beef Pho
- 1 brown onion, cut in half
- 30 gm ginger, sliced thinly
- 1 L beef stock (low sodium)
- 1 L chicken stock (low sodium)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt (omit if not using low sodium stock)
- 200 gm beef chuck steak or cheap cut of your choice, cut into chunks
- 1 cinnamon stick (cassia bark), do not use the powdered version
- 4 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 2 – 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 200 gm flank steak or cut of your choice, sliced thinly
- beef tendon balls, quartered (optional and available at Asian groceries)
Garnishes & Toppings
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 250 gm bean sprouts
- 1 bunch coriander (optional)
- 1 bunch Thai basil (optional)
- 2 chilli, chopped (optional)
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
- chilli sauce
- hoisin sauce
Prep all of your broth ingredients.
In a small fry pan on high, toast the onion and ginger until char marks appear. Once done, let them cool and remove any overly charred parts.
In a medium sized pot on medium high, combine the beef stock, chicken stock, salt, sugar and water.
Once the pot is boiling, add the beef chunks, charred onion and charred ginger.
Lightly toast the star anise, cinnamon and cloves in a fry pan until fragrant. Add to the pot and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes on medium low. Skim any scum off the top with a spoon as it forms while simmering the broth.
After 30 minutes, add the fish sauce to the pot. Check the seasoning of your soup and adjust according to your taste. It is recommended for the broth to be slightly more salty since the noodles and garnishes will dilute the seasoning.
If using beef balls, then add them to the stock to cook. If not, skip this step.
Prepare the dried rice noodles as per packaging.
If using fresh rice noodles, then make sure they are soft first. If not, put it in the microwave and give them a minute or two. Then divide into bowls and blanch them in boiling water for 10 seconds and strain.
Wash and prep all of your garnishes.
Determine the amount of noodles needed for each bowl and divide the noodles.
Turn the heat up and take the pho broth to a rolling boil.
Place the thinly sliced raw beef on top of the noodles. If you prefer your meat more cooked, then blanch them in the boiling soup before placing them on top of the noodles.
Ladle the hot noodle soup into the bowl.
Garnish and serve with herbs, veg and condiments.