Marinating the beef for 4 to 24 hours ahead can save preparation time later and add extra flavor, if desired. Whole star anise imparts a licoricelike aroma and flavor to the broth, but the soup is very good without it.
8 cups water
2 (14 1/4-ounce) cans fat-free beef broth
3 whole star anise (optional)
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 (1 1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, sliced
4 ounces uncooked rice stick noodles or vermicelli
1 1/2 pounds boned sirloin steak, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine) or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced green onions
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thinly sliced red chile (optional)
6 lime wedges (optional)
How to Make It
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes. Strain broth; discard solids. Return broth to pan.
Place rice noodles in a large bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand 15 minutes; drain. Cook noodles in boiling water 1 minute or until tender; drain.
Combine the beef, shallots, sake, and minced ginger in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 10 minutes. Add beef mixture to broth in pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 3 minutes. Stir in bean sprouts and next 6 ingredients (bean sprouts through black pepper); cook 1 minute.
Place the noodles into each of 6 large bowls; top with broth mixture. Garnish with sliced chile and lime wedges, if desired.
It took me two times to get this right. The most important step here is the first. Be sure to cook the broth down and make it nice and flavorful. Longer than 30 minutes if necessary. Also, like the others suggested, slice the steak super thin. With that it was a great dish.
I couldn't find any whole star anise and omitted the red peppers but otherwise made the recipe as written. I used some cheesecloth to make a bag for the cinnamon and ginger so I didn't have to strain all the broth. The flavors were fantastic, bold and distinct. While not a real bowl of pho like you'd get in a Vietnamese restaurant it does a good job of presenting some of the flavors and the spirit of the soup. At first I thought the portion size was small but it was surprisingly filling. I'll definitely make this again, hopefully next time with the anise.
Loved it! Cut the beef really thin and added some shrimp. Was as good as the pho we regularly eat at our local restaurant. I did leave the sprouts and basil leaves to be added after serving into bowls, since that is how it is usually served.
Good stuff! Normally, for Pho, the beef is sliced very thin and added raw into the bowl at serving where the boiling broth is poured over it. Nice presentation as well.
Also added after serving are leaves such as mint, basil even lettuce and a squeeze of lime juice, bean sprouts. Enjoy.
I loved the broth of this recipe, but my meat was somehow dry, which was weird considering it was in a soup! It had a consistency I did not like. I'm not sure if I didn't cut it thin enough or what--I later ate Pho at the vietnamese restaurant I go to and the beef was much thinner. So my suggestion would be to really try and cut that beef thin.
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