The perfect beef pho recipe to warm you up in winter

Now that winter has set in and the desire to hibernate is at its peak, it’s the perfect time to spend a lazy weekend cooking. And a Vietnamese pho is the ideal comfort food. This recipe may take a lot of time (the slow cooking method will make sure you get a great depth of flavour out of your broth), but your efforts will reward you with a bowl full of immunity-boosting goodness that creates 10 serves, so you’ll be well-fed all week long! 

8-10 | Prep 30mins | Cook 12hrs | Total 12.5hrs | Difficulty Moderate to Hard

2kg fresh pho noodles
1kg beef blade steak, very thinly sliced 
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced 
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked
5 kg beef marrow bones
200g piece of ginger, unpeeled 
2 large brown onions, unpeeled
1 garlic bulb, unpeeled, halved 
1 × 500g beef brisket
1 kg oxtail
15 star anise
2 black cardamom pods 
2 sticks cassia bark
4 cloves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds 
60g sea salt
200ml fish sauce
50g caster (superfine) sugar (if needed)
1kg bean sprouts 
2 bunches Thai basil
2 lemons, cut into wedges 
6 bird’s eye chillies, sliced 
hoi sin sauce
chilli sauce 
fish sauce

1 To make the broth, rinse the marrow bones to remove any blood and splinters, then transfer to a 10 litre stockpot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the bones, then place over high heat and bring to the boil. Boil the bones for 20–30 minutes, until no more blood comes to the surface. Drain and discard the cooking liquid, and rinse any remaining blood or impurities from the bones. Return the bones to a clean stockpot, cover with water to nearly the top of the pot and bring back to the boil.
2 Meanwhile, roast the ginger, onion and garlic over a gas stovetop or barbecue flame, or under the grill (broiler) until the skins are charred. Add to the stockpot, along with the brisket and oxtail. Simmer for about 3 hours, removing any impurities as they rise to the surface, or until the meat is tender. Remove the brisket from the broth and set aside to cool, then place in the fridge to use later in the soup. Leave the oxtail in the broth.
3 Bring the stock back to the boil and continue to remove any impurities that rise to the surface.
Simmer gently over medium heat for a further 7–8 hours until the broth has reduced by 20–30 per cent.
4 After 5–6 hours of cooking, lightly toast the star anise, cardamom pods, cassia bark, cloves and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant. Tie the spices in a square of muslin (cheesecloth) and add to the stockpot for the last few hours of cooking.
5 When the broth is ready, remove and discard the solids. Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Season the broth with the salt and fish sauce, and add the sugar if you feel the broth needs a little sweetness. Return to a low heat and simmer until ready to serve.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Using a noodle basket (see note), blanch individual portions of pho noodles (about 120g–150g per person) for 10 seconds, then transfer to large noodle bowls.
7 Slice the brisket into 2mm thick slices and evenly divide among the bowls. Top with the thinly sliced beef blade, onion, spring onion and coriander. Ladle the stock into the bowls, ensuring that it’s boiling hot to cook the raw beef slices.
8 Place the accompaniments on a serving platter and place in the centre of the table. Serve the pho and invite guests to season and flavour their own dish.

Find all the ingredients you need for this recipe at Coles, Woolworths, Westpoint Growers, Farm Fresh Meats and Tong Li Supermarket

Extracted from Street Food: Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Published by Smith Street Books, RRP AU$35.00, Photography © Chris Middleton, Design © Evi O Studio, Styling © Deb Kaloper, Out May 2019