Vietnamese soup: The Best Pho Sure

I have a not-so-secret obsession: I could easily eat pho (pronounced “fuh”) at least once a week. I’ve been known to devour it more than once a week, maybe even two days in a row. In fact, one of the best things about making it at home is that I got to eat it for FOUR meals…

Spices for the pho (on my new cutting board from my boyfriend's sister and brother-in-law!)
Spices for the pho (on my new cutting board from my boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law!)

Yeah, I really like it.

I’ve made pho once before, in a slow cooker. It was very good, but I thought for the blog, I wouldn’t take as many short cuts in an attempt to be a little more authentic.

Spices in a bowl
Spices in a bowl

Pho is fairly easy to make. It doesn’t really take a lot of ingredients or labor, but it does take a lot of time. I spent about four hours making a pot of this broth-y goodness. But, let me tell you, it was worth it! The good thing is, I was hunkered down in the house for the afternoon. I also halved the recipe because I knew I would be the only one in my house for the next few days.

You have to boil the bones to get all the gunk off that floats to the top. It does not look appetizing.
You have to boil the bones to get all the gunk off that floats to the top. It does not look appetizing.

One step you don’t want to skimp on is boiling the bones. That brown-grey stuff floating to the top does not look very tasty. Once you boil off the gunk for a few minutes, then the bones are ready to go.

Thinly slicing the beef as much as possible...
Thinly slicing the beef as much as possible…

I also opted to thinly slice some beef round steak myself rather than asking the butcher to do it at the store. It wasn’t quite as thin as I would like, and I ended up actually boiling it in the broth before serving just to make sure it heated through, instead of letting it cook in the bowl. Next time, I plan to just ask the butcher to slice it for me behind the counter with their nice, sharp slicer. I did that when I made it in the past, and it was perfect.

Beautiful and so tasty
Beautiful and so tasty

I have been told by Vietnamese friends that, for the most part, even in Vietnam, you buy this dish rather than make it. It just takes a little too long, and it’s so cheap. This isn’t something I would make as often as I like to EAT pho (and, I would opt for the slow cooker version in the future, which I have made before to equal success), simply because it’s hard to make in small batches. However, this broth was far superior to anything I have ever eaten at a pho restaurant; the flavors were absolutely amazing and complex. It barely needed any extra flavorings (although I couldn’t resist Sriracha). You’ve got to try it at least once, if only to experience the gloriousness that is the homemade broth.

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