Beef Noodle Soup (Vietnamese)

1 May

Phở Bò is the classic Vietnamese noodle soup dish. Flat wide rice noodles served in a bowl of delicately spiced beef broth with thin slivers of beef and garnishes of aromatic fresh herbs and vegetables. In spring it is lunchtime staple in our house, thanks to a special Phở stock paste I found in an Asian grocers, which makes it even easier to knock out this tasty lunch.

Serves 2 Prep & Cook 20min
Phở Bò Stock 1 tbsp of paste to 2 pints of hot water
Beef steak
1 tsp each of soy sauce and fish sauce
Wide flat rice noodles (2 portions)
1 onion thinly sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Garnishes The traditional Vietnamese garnishes are; green onions, white onions, coriander, Thai basil, saw leaf herb (Eryngium foetidum), mint, lime segments, bean sprouts, and sliced red chilli peppers. As some of these can be difficult to come by we use all kinds of aromatic leaves including: sorrel, garlic chives, angelica, dill, chervil, fennel tops as well as sprouted spice seeds such as fennel, onion and fenugreek.

Slice the steak against the grain very thinly and marinade in the soy and fish sauce while you prepare the rest of the dish. Soak the noodles in water for 15 minutes or as directed on the packet, rinse and drain. Meanwhile prepare the garnishes. Just before you are ready to assemble the dish, drop the noodles into boiling water for a further 2 minutes or so then drain and divide equally between bowls, scatter with some of the onions, marinated beef and some chopped coriander. Ladle the boiling stock over to cover and serve with a plate of garnishes. The garnishes are generally provided on a separate plate, along with; hoisin sauce, chilli sauce or fish sauce, allowing diners to adjust the soup’s flavour to their taste.

Variation I like to add a handful of greens such as spinach, green beans, asparagus whatever is in season, to each bowl they cook in the hot broth and are delicious. You can also speed up preparation even further by dropping the noodles straight into the stock to boil for 3-7 minutes (depending on the type of noodle) then ladle out and garnish.
COOK’S TIP If you don’t have the paste or prefer to make fresh stock; boil up some beef bones or cheap cuts with an onion, a few slivers of ginger, some star anise, cloves and fish sauce, covered for at least an hour, strain and it is ready to use.
Cook’s Note Some sources claim the name phở is derived from the French soup pot au feu. To read more about the origins of phở visit this website dedicated to the appreciation of phở
Phofever or read this article in the San Francisco Chronicle A Bowl of Pho 



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