Pho

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

Making this classic Vietnamese noodle soup is the perfect project for a chilly weekend, writes Emma Knowles.

  • 2 kg beef bones, cut into 8cm lengths
  • 500 gm beef marrow bones, cut into 8cm lengths
  • 500 gm oxtail, cut into joints
  • 3 onions, 2 unpeeled, 1 thinly sliced and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
  • 40 gm (8cm piece) ginger, unpeeled
  • 6 cloves
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 450 gm brisket, cut into 5cm x 10cm pieces
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) fish sauce, plus extra to taste
  • 25 gm yellow rock sugar, coarsely crushed, plus extra to taste (see note)
  • 300 gm banh pho noodles
  • 250 gm sirloin, thinly sliced across the grain
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped coriander
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve
  • To serve: bean sprouts, sawtooth coriander (see note), Vietnamese mint sprigs, mint leaves, holy basil, thinly sliced birds-eye chillies and lime halves
01   Combine bones and oxtail in a large stockpot, cover generously with cold water, bring to the boil over high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes to remove impurities. Drain, rinse bones and stockpot and set aside.
02   Char unpeeled onions and ginger over an open flame, turning occasionally, until blackened and just tender (10-15 minutes). Rinse under cold running water, peel, remove any charred pieces and set aside.
03   Tie spices in a piece of muslin.
04   Combine bones, charred onion and ginger, spice bundle, brisket, fish sauce, rock sugar and 5.5-litres cold water in a stockpot and bring to the simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, skimming occasionally to remove scum, until brisket is cooked to your liking (1¼-1½ hours; brisket should be slightly chewy but not tough).
05   Remove brisket, place in a bowl of cold water (this will prevent it from drying out and darkening as it cools) and refrigerate until required. Continue simmering broth, skimming occasionally, until well-flavoured (1½-2 hours).
06   Strain broth through a fine sieve (reserve gelatinous tendons from bones and store with brisket; discard bones, onions and garlic) and refrigerate until fat sets on the surface (overnight). Remove fat (discard), then bring stock to the simmer over medium-high heat and adjust seasoning to taste with fish sauce, rock sugar and sea salt.
07   Blanch noodles in a saucepan of boiling water until just tender (20-30 seconds), drain and divide among bowls, filling each one-third full. Drain and thinly slice brisket. Arrange brisket and sirloin on noodles, scatter with drained sliced onion and chopped coriander and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Ladle broth over and serve hot with spring onion, bean sprouts, sawtooth coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, holy basil, chilli and lime halves.

Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead to chill and remove the fat from the broth. Yellow rock sugar is available from select Asian grocers. Sawtooth coriander is available from select Asian greengrocers.

Topics:

STAR ANISE, BEEF, OXTAIL, VIETNAMESE, SOUP, AUTUMN, CINNAMON, ONIONS, CORIANDER, NOODLES, MAIN, GINGER, MASTERCLASS

Recipe:

EMMA KNOWLES

Photography:

JAMES MOFFATT

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES

FEATURED IN

Apr 2013

Apr 2013

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