Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Bo) is a quintessential Vietnamese dish and this step-by-step recipe shows you how to make this amazing, hearty soup from scratch. If you’re a fan of Beef Pho and have always wanted to learn how to make this delicious soup at home, this is an authentic recipe to try. I’ll show you how to make a rich and hearty beef stock using my “secret” ingredients and how to infuse the soup with the aromatic signature pho spices. Awesome food takes time to make and this dish is worth all the love and effort you put into it. Feel good about taking the time to prepare a healthy and tasty meal for your family and friends. Enjoy!
Peel off the skin of the sweet onion. Cut the onion in half. Place the onion halves and ginger on a cooking grate or directly on the burner. Cook over Medium Low heat until charred. Rotate the onion and ginger so they char evenly. This takes approximately 10 minutes. Peel off the charred outer skin of the onion and discard. Use a small knife to scrape off all the char and then rinse with water. Peel off the ginger skin and discard. Cut the ginger in half lengthwise.
Fill the stockpot with 6 quarts water. Bring to a rapid boil over High heat. Add the beef bones filling the bottom of the pot. Add the white radish, ginger and onion. Add the beef brisket. Place the remaining bones and oxtail on top of the brisket. (Layering it this way keeps the brisket submerged in the liquid.) Add the rock sugar and 1 Tbsp salt. Add enough water to cover the bones completely.
As the liquid comes to a boil, skim off the foam and discard. When it comes to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to Low. Cover the stockpot leaving a slight gap. Let the stock simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours. Every 30 minutes, skim off the foam and discard. Cook using Low heat. Avoid boiling the stock vigorously which will make the stock cloudy and reduce the liquid.
Transfer the beef tendons into a large bowl. Sprinkle both sides with 1 Tbsp salt. Drizzle 1/4 cup white vinegar on top. Coat the tendons with the salt and vinegar solution. Let rest for 10 minutes. Rinse well with cold water. Transfer the tendons into an InstantPot pressure cooker. Cover the tendons with an inch of water. Cover with the lid and pressure cook on High for 30 minutes. Allow for a full natural pressure release.
Break the cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces using a pestle or rolling pin. In a small skillet over Low heat, add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves and cardamom pods. Stirring occasionally, toast the spices until they are fragrant, approximately 7-8 minutes.
Transfer the dry rice noodle into a large colander and bowl. Fill the bowl with warm water. Soak the noodles until they are limp, approximately 10 minutes. Drain the rice noodle.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Transfer the noodles into the boiling water and stir together. Cook until you can easily pinch a noodle in half between your fingers, approximately 3-4 minutes.
Arrange the cooked meats on a large plate.
Thinly slice the beef eye of round and put on a separate plate.
To serve, transfer some rice noodle into a medium-sized soup bowl. Add a few pieces of the oxtail, brisket and tendon. Add a green onion root and brown onion slices.
Bring the soup stock to a gentle boil. Add a few slices of the beef eye of round and cook in the stock to the desired doneness, a few seconds for rare and until no longer pink for well done. Transfer the beef slices into the bowl. Ladle a generous amount of the soup stock into the bowl. Top the soup with the chopped green onions and cilantro mixture and freshly ground black pepper.
If you enjoy rare beef, simply add the raw beef eye of round slices directly into the noodle bowl. Pour the hot soup stock on top and this will partially cook the beef.
Simmer the stock for at least 1 1/2 hours for the best flavor. Simmering longer enhances the flavor as more of the bone essence is extracted.
Avoid boiling vigorously as this will make the stock cloudy and reduce the liquid considerably. Also avoid covering the stockpot completely as this will also make the stock cloudy.
Some folks like to simmer for hours and this is just fine. I usually cook the stock for the initial 1 1/2 hours + 30 minutes with the spices. This is about how long it takes me to prep the remaining ingredients.
Add fish sauce just to the portion of soup stock you’re eating right away. If refrigerating the stock, don’t add fish sauce to the entire batch. Stock with fish sauce has a tendency to turn slightly sour when refrigerated.
This recipe yields a generous amount of soup stock, approximately 22 cups. Depending on your serving size, the batch could be split into two meals. If enjoying as two meals, only cook one 14 oz package of rice noodle at a time. If serving the entire batch, then use both packages. A 14 oz package of dry rice noodle makes approximately 2 lbs rice noodle, approximately 7 cups.
The recipe yields approximately 10 medium-sized bowls or 8 large-sized bowls.