Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Comfort Food of the East - Beef Pho

The arrival of winter-like weather to Melbourne and the rather stressful week we've had this week (long story short, little miss almost 3 had a severe asthma attack which saw us in the emergency department of our local hospital; she is much better now thankfully) has gotten me thinking about the cold weather and comfort foods my family and I like to eat.  So, today I thought I would share with you a quick and easy recipe for one of our favourites, Vietnamese Beef Pho.
Now, I must add the disclaimer that I am NOT Vietnamese, so the authenticity of my version of this soup noodle dish is probably a little suspect.  But I do promise you that it is very delicious and a great way to warm up on days that make you think you are living in Antarctica (or the Arctic if you're in the Northern hemisphere).

1kg of stewing beef such as gravy beef or chuck steak, trimmed and diced into 2cm cubes
1-2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised
4 star anise pods
3cm knob of ginger, sliced
12 leaves of wombok/Chinese cabbage
3-4 bunches of baby bok choy
100g bean sprouts (optional)
1 litre of home made beef or chicken stock or 1 cup of store bought beef stock
Fresh flat rice noodles for soup
Fresh coriander
1-2 small red chillies
2 limes
Fish sauce

1. Combine your stock, lemongrass, star anise and ginger in a large soup pot and heat till simmering gently.  If you are using store bought stock, add enough water to make up to a litre.
2. When the stock is nicely simmering, add the diced beef and cover with the lid.  Top up with boiling water if the meat isn't fully covered by the liquid.  Leave to simmer for 1.5-2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, chop up the Asian greens.  These cook pretty quickly, so I usually add them after 1-2 hours and simmer for another 10-20 minutes, until they are tender.  If you are using the bean sprouts, I recommend tailing them for a more aesthetically pleasing dish.  You might also want to top up the soup with more liquid (boiling water) if it looks a little low and you are wanting more of a "soupy" feel.
4. Finely chop the coriander and the chillies and put them in separate dishes.
5. Put the rice noodles in a metal dish and cover with boiling water for about 5 minutes.  Drain the noodles and then serve up in large soup bowls with the soup.
6. Serve the noodle soup with the condiments in the middle of the table for people to add to taste.


  1. My little ones LOVE soup and noodle dishes, definitely going to try this one. YUM

  2. Mmmm! I'm so going to try this! My sister gave me a beautiful Vietnamese cookbook last year and I love it!

  3. This soup looks really good, perfect for a cold winter's day! Thanks for sharing at Showcase Your Talent Thursday. I hope to see you at the next party!


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