This Instant Pot recipe for Beef Meatball Pho / Vietnamese Beef Meatball Noodle Soup (Pho Bo Vien) shares a secret ingredient for making amazing pho broth: Peanut Worm / Sá Sùng. This unique marine animal has been top chefs’ stealthy ingredient for cooking pho broth with depth of flavor and umami profile. In this post, I’ll share the easy recipe including how to prepare the dried peanut worms to make an awesome tasting soup. I’ll share all the tricks for making restaurant-quality pho with all healthy and natural ingredients. Plus this recipe uses the Instant Pot, so you can enjoy this delicious Beef Meatball Pho in no time at all. Enjoy the recipe!
Watch the video for instructions.
Notes on the Beef Meatball Pho (Pho Bo Vien) Recipe, Tips and Tricks
This recipe is for the 8 Quart Instant Pot. If making in the 6 Quart Instant Pot, use 3 lbs beef short ribs and 1 lb beef brisket. For the beef meatballs, 3-4 meatballs per bowl is typical. Make homemade meatballs using my Beef Meatballs (Bo Vien) recipe or buy the meatballs from your Asian grocer.
I use beef short ribs instead of beef leg or knuckle bones for this pressure cooker recipe. The beef ribs are meaty, have less marrow and don’t require parboiling. My shortcut step is to soak the ribs in a salt and vinegar solution for 10 minutes. This process helps to clean the ribs, remove residual blood, marrow and other bits which often cloud the broth. Beef brisket is another one of my favorite cuts, but feel free to use what you like or what’s available. Other great choices are beef chuck roast, tri-tip and oxtail.
Peanut worms (scientific name Sipunculus Nudus) are marine worms about 2-3 inches long with round tapered bodies like an earthworm. (Read more about the fascinating peanut worm on Wikipedia.) As I mentioned earlier, the peanut worms add robust umami (savory sweetness) and fragrance to homemade broths. In this recipe, I use 12 dried peanut worms, about 1/4 ounce. You don’t need a lot to make flavorful and fragrant pho broth. The peanut worms replace rock sugar + salt (or MSG) called for in many recipes. Of course, if you don’t have peanut worms, substitute with 1 oz rock sugar + 2 tsp salt.
When preparing the peanut worms, be sure to split open the bodies lengthwise and toss in a strainer to remove the sand. This can be done before or after toasting but I find the heat puffs up their bodies and so it’s easier to shake out the sand.
Where to Purchase Peanut Worms
Purchase the peanuts worms online from Sa Sung USA. Their marine worms / sá sùng have no preservatives, no artificial coloring or additives. The peanut worms are a product of Vietnam and packaged in the US.
For a limited time, Sa Sung USA is offering RunAwayRice readers a special offer!! During check-out, use Promo Code “runawayrice2019″ and receive 15% off your entire order. Use this promo code as many times as you’d like and share with your family and friends! 🙂
Beef Meatball Pho / Pho Bo Vien
Instant Pot Beef Meatball Pho / Vietnamese Beef Meatball Noodle Soup / Pho Bo Vien
This Instant Pot recipe for Beef Meatball Pho / Vietnamese Beef Meatball Noodle Soup / Pho Bo Vien shares a secret ingredient for making amazing pho broth: Peanut Worm / Sá Sùng. This unique marine animal has been top chefs' stealthy ingredient for cooking pho broth with depth of flavor and umami profile. In this post, I'll share the easy recipe including how to prepare the dried peanut worms to make an awesome tasting soup. I'll share all the tricks for making restaurant-quality pho with all healthy and natural ingredients. Plus this recipe uses the Instant Pot, so you can enjoy this delicious Beef Meatball Pho in no time at all. Enjoy the recipe!
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 1/2 inch knob ginger
- 1/3 lb white radish
- 12 peanut worms / sá sùng
- 4 lbs beef short ribs , 3 lbs for 6 Quart
- 1.5 lbs beef brisket , 1 lb for 6 Quart
- 3 1/2 Tbsp salt , for cleaning the meats
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar , for cleaning the meats
- 12 cups boiling water
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- 12 oz beef meatballs , 18-24 meatballs
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 whole star anise
- 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 5 cloves
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 4 green onions
- 1/2 bunch cilantro , washed & trimmed
- 1/4 yellow onion
- 2 jalapeños
- 2 limes
- 1 bunch Thai basil , washed
- 1 bunch sawtooth herb , washed
- 2 cups bean sprouts , washed & trimmed
- 4 red chilies
- 1 lb fresh rice sticks or rice noodle
Making the Soup
Cut off the ends of the onion and remove the skin. Place the whole onion and ginger on a wire roasting rack, directly over a burner. Cook over Medium Low heat until charred, approximately 8-10 minutes. Rotate the onion and ginger every few minutes for even charring. Remove 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 skin of the ginger including all char and discard. Also, rinse with water. Cross-cut the the onion but do not cut all the way through. Cut the ginger in half lengthwise. Set aside for now.
Remove the skin of the white radish using a vegetable peeler. Cut the radish into chunks. Set aside for now.
Transfer the dried peanuts worms into a small skillet. Toast over Low heat for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently to prevent burning. Using scissors cut the worms in half lengthwise. Open the bodies using your fingers. Toss the worms in a mesh strainer for 30 seconds to remove the sand. Set aside for now.
Break the cinnamon stick into small pieces using a pestle or rolling pin. On the 8 Quart Instant Pot panel, press the "Saute" button. When the display shows "Hot", add the spices into the inner pot: cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves and cardamom. Stirring occasionally, toast the spices until fragrant, approximately 7-8 minutes.
- Transfer the spices into a large tea filter. Close the opening of the filter bag by tying with cooking twine.
Transfer the short ribs into a large colander and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp salt. Flip the pieces over and sprinkle with another 1 Tbsp salt. Using your fingers, gently rub the salt onto each pieces. Under running water, wash each piece thoroughly. Fill a large bowl with hot water. Add 1 Tbsp salt and the vinegar. Transfer the ribs into the solution and let soak for 10 minutes. Rinse again with water to wash off the salt and vinegar. Rub the brisket with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp salt and then rinse with water.
Transfer the radish, short ribs, brisket, charred onion and ginger, spices bag and peanut worms into the inner pot. Fill the inner pot to the "Max" line with boiling water, approximately 12 cups.
Cover with the pressure cooking lid. Set the steam release handle to "Sealing". Press the "Manual" button and then set to cook on "High Pressure" for 30 minutes. When the cook time is completed, allow for a 15-20 minute natural pressure release. (Full pressure release is fine too if you have the time.) Release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the spices bag and any visible vegetables and discard.
- Transfer all meats into a large bowl of ice water. Let soak for 2 minutes. Transfer the meats into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for now.
Scoop out any remaining vegetables from the stock and discard. Filter the stock into a large bowl or another Instant Pot inner pot by pouring it through a strainer covered with cheesecloth. Optionally, skim off the excess fat from the top. (If you don't have a second inner pot: Wash the inner pot. Then transfer the filtered stock back into the clean inner pot.) Place the inner pot back into the Instant Pot.
Season the broth with fish sauce to taste, approximately 2-3 Tbsp.
Preparing the Accompaniments
For the green onions, separate the root from the stems. Transfer the root portions into a small bowl and set aside for now. Chop the green onion stems and transfer into another small bowl. Chop the cilantro and add to the chopped green onion stems. Combine together. Set the bowl aside for now. (All will be used to garnish the noodle soup.)
Cut the yellow onion into thin slices. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside for now. (This will be used to garnish the noodle soup.)
Slice the jalapeños into thin coins.
Cut the limes into wedges.
Arrange Thai basil, sawtooth herb, bean sprouts, jalapeños, lime wedges and red chilies on a large plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slicing the Meats
Separate the rib meat from the bone. Tear the meat into chunks.
Cut the brisket into thin slices, cutting across the grain.
If the meatballs are cold, transfer into the broth to warm. Use the "Saute" button to heat the soup if needed.
Blanching the Rice Noodle
Transfer 1 serving, approximately 3-4 oz rice noodle, into a skimmer. Swirl in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain the noodle and transfer into a large soup bowl. Repeat these steps to cook the remaining noodle.
Serving the Beef Meatball Pho
To serve, add some rib meat, brisket and meatballs into a noodle bowl.
Add one green onion root and some thinly sliced onion into the bowl.
Ladle a generous amount of the broth into the bowl. Top the soup with the chopped green onions and cilantro mixture and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve this amazing Instant Pot Beef Meatball Pho with the fresh herbs and vegetable platter along with the essential condiments: Hoisin sauce, Sriracha sauce and Satay chili paste.
Store any remaining portions in the refrigerator and enjoy within the week. The meat and stock can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Notes, Tips & Tricks
- This recipe is for the 8 Quart Instant Pot. If making in the 6 Quart Instant Pot, use 3 lbs beef short ribs and 1 lb beef brisket.
- Some options instead of charring over an open flame: 1) Broil in the oven for 15-20 minutes. 2) Char use a cast iron pan or stove-top grill. With all methods, rotate the onion and ginger for even charring. Keep close watch to prevent scorching.
- To remove unwanted fat: Refrigerate the soup overnight and then skim off the congealed fat layer.
- Add fish sauce just to the portion of broth you’re eating right away. If refrigerating, don’t add fish sauce to the entire batch. Broth with fish sauce has a tendency to turn sour when refrigerated.
- Instant Pot Beef Meatball Pho is great for making ahead and serving later. Cook in the Instant Pot and then store in the refrigerator overnight. The following day: prepare the fresh herbs and vegetables, slice the meats, cook the rice noodle and serve.
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