2 yellow onions, peeled
2 pieces of Ginger (2-3”), cut in half the long way, no need to peel
5 pounds of knuckle bones or beef marrow (I use a mix of both, more marrow than knuckle bone)
2 larger scallions
2lbs Beef Chuck, cut in half
5/6 quarts of Water
8oz of Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms (halved)
1/3 cup of Fish Sauce, the more expensive the sauce the better the flavor (this is also what you want to use overusing salt)
2 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar (may use 2½ oz Rock Sugar if available) <- USE ROCK SUGAR if you can
1 Black Cardamom Pod (necessary BUT I don’t use them as I often cannot find them)
4 Large Garlic Cloves (roasted/softened)
1 Large Cinnamon Stick
6-8 Star Anise (I use 10)
2 teaspoons of Coriander Seeds
2 teaspoons of Fennel Seeds
1 teaspoon of Salt (rely more on fish sauce vs salt for better flavor)
1 pound of dried Pho Rice Noodles (we use almost a half of a 2nd package for extra noodles)
½ pound of Beef Tenderloin, frozen slightly and sliced very thin against the grain. We DO NOT cook it, we let the broth brown the meat, but our family prefers the meats natural flavors vs cooking out the taste of the beef given it’s such a spendy cut of meat
½ pound of Fatty Flank (cooked to your liking, we cook it to rare and let the broth finish the cooking) The fattier the flank the better. Once the flank is cooked cut against the grain thinly but not as thin as the beef tenderloin.
(We have also added jumbo shrimp, peeled, and deveined and barely finished cooking before adding into Pho broth) It’s absolutely delicious! We used about 25-30 shrimp
***Toppings Once Dished*** (not necessary to use, but always great additions once plated) I personally don’t use anything but the onions and cilantro.
Thinly sliced Scallions (we like to use a mix of Sweet Onion and Red Onion)
Bean Sprouts (I don’t like sprouts in mine)
Fresh Thai Basil (if you cannot find Thai Basil regular Basil is fine, just don’t use as much)
Fresh Sliced Jalapeno’s
NOTE::: This is going to take ALLLLL DAY. About an hour to prep and you need at least 6hrs MINIMUM to cook.
1) In a LARGE pot pre-boil, the beef bones/marrow, fatty flank and the 2 halves of chuck for 5 minutes and then drain in a colander.
2) While that’s boiling you need to char the ginger, garlic, and onions. (Not a deal breaker if you can’t, but you should; it does matter) Takes about 5-7 minutes (a light/medium char)
3) In a CLEAN stockpot add 5-6 quarts of FRESH WATER and bring to a boil. Put the bones and meat back in the pot (I remove the fatty flank and half the chuck and put them into a bowl that’s sitting in ice to stop the meat from further cooking as it rests and then stick it in the fridge once cooled down a bit. You must leave the 2nd half of chuck in the pot along with the marrow and knuckle as this is going to liven up the broth), then start adding the charred and cleaned ginger, garlic, and onions (don’t forget to remove the char before putting these in the pot). Add in your scallions, fish sauce (remember fish sauce is your friend and salt isn’t as important/necessary) and sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer everything until the chuck is tender, about 40ish minutes. Don’t forget to clean the surface regularly of the foam and fat. The cleaner the broth is the better/clearer the broth will be.
4) Toast your spices!! (I don’t do this as I have not perfected it yet and don’t want to waste expensive spices) If you know how to do this, then you must do it! Take the fennel seeds, cardamom pod, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, and coriander seeds. Cook on a pan without oil, cook dry on medium low heat for about 4 minutes until the smells are pungent. Once they’re done take all the spices and put them inside a cut piece of cheesecloth and tie the cloth up and put it inside the stockpot to continue cooking with the meat on low. (I do obviously put them in a cheesecloth; I just add extra spices since I haven’t perfected the toasting. Sometimes I put a thick slice of orange in there as well)
5) Cover the pot and cook for at least another 4 hours. Every 45min or so I like to make sure the top of the broth is clean and do one gentle stir before recovering to continue cooking. At the 3hr mark add your mushrooms (if you’re adding them) then at the 4-hour mark add your salt and shrimp (if you’re adding shrimp). At the 5hr mark remove anything from the top. Start taste testing your broth. Adjust as needed with sugar and fish sauce (or salt) as needed until you have your preferred flavors). Remember to adjust in SMALL measurements as a tiny bit can go a long way.
6) After your Pho has been simmering for a good 6hrs; grab the noodles and cook per the instructions on the package.
7) Turn the Pho broth back up to med-high rolling boil (not a hard boil)
As the noodles begin cooking you need to start the prepping as you’re about to get ready to serve, remove your thinly sliced beef tenderloin and fatty flank from the fridge. Get your bowls ready!! We use larger bowls vs bowls that are narrower in circumference, so the broth and meats all get submerged under the broth evenly. How you assemble your Pho is up to you. We add our noodles to the bowl first, then ladle the broth, and add the proteins and toppings. We NEVER cook the beef tenderloin; the fatty flank is always tender, and we usually don’t even use the chuck for the Pho since we prefer lesser done meats. We will take the leftover chuck and use it for cheese steak sandwiches or something a couple days later. Anyway, the hot broth will cook the beef tenderloin but its okay if its still red. Trust me the flavors are incredible when raw.