Vietnamese Beef Pho

 

Pho (pronounced fuh—rhymes with duh) is a Vietnamese beef and noodle soup. The raw meat is cut really really thin and is cooked when boiling broth is poured on top. I don’t know where to get kosher Vietnamese food, so I had to make it myself.

Of course, I’d heard about pho, but the first time I decided I wanted to try it was during lunch at work one Thursday. Every day, unless I’m too busy, I get together with some coworkers to eat lunch in our office kitchen. We mostly bring our own lunches, and one of my coworkers brought Trader Joe’s pho—just add water and microwave. Now, I love Trader Joe’s a lot, especially for their kosher selection, but I knew they definitely didn’t have kosher pho, so I went ahead and put it on my menu for the following week.

This was also a good excuse to check out the new butcher on the Upper East Side, Prime Butcher Baker (you may have seen my photographs on Facebook). At first, I thought I’d make the beef stock myself, too, but since my freezer is filled to the brim and I was only cooking for two AND the butcher had beef stock.

Now, if someone could just teach me how to eat noodle soups without making a mess, I’d appreciate it. Do you use a spoon? A fork? A knife…

Pho
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups beef broth (I used butcher-bought, buy you can make your own if you have time/are feeling less lazy and more adventurous)
  • 2-3 whole cloves
  • 2-3 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Some ginger (I keep grated fresh ginger in my freezer and when I need to use it I just break a piece off. It’s hard to measure it, but it was probably equal to a few thin slices from a fresh root)
  • A pinch of black peppercorns
  • 1/2 lb rice noodles
  • Peanut oil
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1/4 pound very very thinly sliced beef (mine said “fillet.” That’s what the butcher recommended. He also sliced it really thin for me), cut into strips
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Small bunches of mint, cilantro and Thai basil (or regular basil if you can’t find Thai)
  • Bunch of bean sprouts
  • Lime quarters
  • Sriracha sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat the stock in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Gather the cloves, star anise, cinnamon, ginger and peppercorns into a cheesecloth or mesh strainer and add to the broth. Heat to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until fragrant. Season with salt, if necessary and discard the spices.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and fry the shallots until evenly brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cook the rice noodles according to the packaging directions.
  5. Divide the noodles and meat evenly into the bowls.
  6. Bring the broth back to a boil and ladle into the bowls. Top with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges and sriracha sauce.
  • http://twitter.com/MissDahlELama DahlELama

    Literally just last night I was reading through the Joy of Cooking and thinking that I really had to come up with a way to make kosher pho. So excited to try this!

  • http://twitter.com/MissDahlELama DahlELama

    Literally just last night I was reading through the Joy of Cooking and thinking that I really had to come up with a way to make kosher pho. So excited to try this!

  • http://primallykosher.wordpress.com/ Paleoguy

    This looks great.u00a0 I was impressed when I had this at a Vietnamese restaurants. I couldn’t figure out all of the flavors.

  • http://primallykosher.wordpress.com/ Paleoguy

    This looks great.  I was impressed when I had this at a Vietnamese restaurants. I couldn’t figure out all of the flavors.

  • Jkosfisz

    Just found your site.  Cool.  Got turned on to Strian cooking a few years ago when I found Aromas of Aleppo at a friend’s house.

    Used to eat this out every week until I kept kosher, so I know what this should taste like. Couple comments. 1. The soup is made from oxtail, which most butchers can special order for you. 2. The onions in the soup are pickled in sugar and vinegar for a couple days. And we also use scallion in the soup for the color. 3. The meat is taken out of the soup and eaten with sriracha and hoisin sauce mix. 4. To not make a mess you pick noodle up with chopsticks (right hand) and hold a spoon underneath (left hand). 5. mint? ehhh, no 6. some people also do meatballs or tripe (yes, that tripe – quite gummy) 7. some do raw meat in the bowl like you have here, some do cooked meat – some people also do chicken, if raw, make sure it is VERY thinly sliced so it cooks in the broth and youi don’teat raw beef, yuck – also helps cool down broth into edible temperature range 8. some also put sliced jalapeno slices in the broth

    I’m not a coffee drinker, plus I don’t mix basar v’chalav, but the Vietnamese have this real strong coffee they drink after the soup (plus a smoke), it drips into sweetened condensed milk throughout the meal, then after the meal they stir it all up with ice, kinda like a frappucino I guess, I never had one. But it looks and smells damn good.

    • Akiva Goldberg

      Where do you get kosher rice noodles????

      • stephanie

        Hi Akiva— Where are you located? Sometimes you can find them at Fairway or at kosher supermarkets. Some people hold that since They’re just rice and water, they don’t need supervision.

      • jessica matthews

        Hi Akiva— Where are you located? Sometimes you can find them at Fairway or at kosher supermarkets in NYC. 

  • Jason

    This looks great. I have made Pho before by adapting a recipe in “The Essential Asian Cookbook”
    With respect to your question about how to eat it – the answer is a combination chopsticks and a spoon.
    Also, you should know that you can easily make a very tasty pareve version by substituting a parve stock and a vegetable protein like tofu. Also, my recipe called for searing the ginger and onion (or shallots) under a broiler before adding to the stock – it makes for a richer, and sweeter flavour.
    Question: Where did you find kosher Siracha sauce?