What Is Pho?
Pho, or pronounced as fuh, is a famous street food in Vietnam.
It's a hot thin clear soup that has been cooked with some spices. A bowl of pho usually have rice noodles, fresh herbs and a type of protein source that's usually either chicken or beef.
Preparing a pho soup especially the beef pho is time consuming as the soup is cooked slowly using bones and meat for up to 8 hours.
Today I'm going to share with you a quicker version of a beef pho. The one that you can enjoy in a mere 40 minutes.
What Is Quick Beef Pho?
Though a traditional way of cooking a dish definitely portraits the authenticity of a meal, sometimes we are restricted by certain things and in this case, time.
Let's face it, most of us don't have 8 hours to cater to a pot of simmering soup.
If you have the time then I would recommend you to go the traditional way. If you're anything like me, then quick beef pho.. here I come!
Instead of using knuckle and oxtail bones to make the soup, I'm simply using beef stock.
Changing to beef stock reduces the cooking time to a total of 20 minutes instead of 8 hours.
Use your favourite beef stock. You can also use water and beef bouillon powder or paste. Your choice.
Essence Of Pho
Though we are extremely reducing the cooking time, we still want to preserve the essence of a pho, which is the spices and the charred ingredients.
Pho soup is different from other soups due to the spices that it has. They are cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, cloves, star anise and black pepper corns.
Don't be alarmed of the quantity of the spices. The soup will not taste pungently spiced. In fact, it tastes mild yet very flavourful.
I would really recommend you to dry toast your spices before using them as it will make a huge difference in flavours.
Some quick pho recipes even make it quicker by skipping this part. By that I mean not charring the shallots/onions and ginger.
I don't like to do that because I feel that's another part of the essence of a pho, the charred shallots and ginger.
Besides if you watch the recipe video below, you will see that it doesn't take long at all to charr them as I do it in the oven.
And in the meanwhile, I toast the spices.
In our house, we love ourselves some soups like this pho.
We always have family gathering in the weekends, and that means lazy day with the family, comfort food, amazing dessert and who knows what else we come up with that day. Haha!
And usually the day after I will prepare either beef/chicken pho or chicken soup. Just to start the week good, you know.
This beef pho soup doesn't have any fat. It has lean meat and lots of herbs. If you can find bean sprouts, use them also. I couldn't find any this time.
The thin clear soup is also soothing and kind to the stomach.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Before You Go
Here are some more similar healthy meals, if you're interested:
- Asian chicken noodle soup
- Ginger steamed fish
- Cauliflower nasi goreng
- Steamed fish with lime and garlic
Quick Beef Pho
- 5 shallots , with skin on
- 2 thumb sized ginger , sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 6 cloves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 4 cup beef stock (1 liter)
- 1 cup water (250 ml)
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce , or to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 3.5 oz dry rice noodles (100 gr), cooked according to packet's instructions
- 7 oz beef cutlets (200 gr)
- some spring onion , sliced
- some coriander leaves
- some chili , sliced
- some hoisin sauce
- some sriracha
- some lime wedges
Preparing The Base
- Place shallots and ginger on a baking tray and grill in a preheated oven at 480ºF (250ºC) for 10 minutes or until charred.
- Remove from the oven and once the shallots are not too hot to handle, remove the skin. Set aside.
- Heat a pan on medium heat and add in all the spices. Dry toast them for a few minutes until they release their fragrances. Set aside.
- Add beef stock, water, toasted spices and charred ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain and reserve the soup, discarding the rest. Pour the soup back into the pot and bring it back to a boil. Add in fish sauce, coconut sugar and mix well.
How To Serve
- Place some cooked rice noodles into a bowl, followed by beef cutlets. Pour the boiling soup on the cutlets. The soup will cook them. Add more soup to your liking.
- Finally add the spring onion, coriander leaves and chili. Serve immediately with some hoisin sauce and sriracha.
Variations Of Herbs And Veggies
- Veggies: Add bean sprouts if you have, they add texture.
- Herbs: Use Vietnamese or Thai basils, basils or mint leaves.
Types Of Beef For Pho
- You can use thinly sliced sirloin, flank steak or any lean meat.