Makes 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup broth plus garnishes)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, sliced into quarter-size pieces
1 onion, halved and sliced
7 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
3 whole star anise
2 whole cloves
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces flank steak, trimmed
8 ounces dried flat rice noodles (banh pho)
2 scallions, sliced on bias
1/2 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
1/4 small dried Thai chile, thinly sliced
How to Make It
Bring large pot of water to boil (for step 3). Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger and onion; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Add broth, anise, cloves, and cinnamon; bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook 15 minutes. Strain broth into a bowl; discard solids. Return broth to pan, stir in fish sauce and sugar; season with black pepper.
Put steak in freezer for 15 minutes to firm for slicing. Soak noodles in hot water in large bowl for 20 minutes or until soft.
Add noodles to boiling water; cook 30 seconds. Drain, and divide noodles among 6 deep soup bowls. Return broth to boil. Remove steak from freezer, halve lengthwise, and slice thinly across the grain; arrange raw slices over noodles. Ladle broth into bowls (boiling broth will cook steak).
Arrange scallions, mint, bean sprouts, and chilies on large platter. Serve soup with platter on side.