Authentic Pho Recipe
A pho recipe developed over decades from our Vietnamese family to yours.
Pho spices and aromatics
- 5 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp peppercorns white preferred, black if not
- 1 tsp fennel optional
- 5 cardamom pods optional
- 1/2 medium onion peeled
- 2 inches ginger halved lengthwise
- 1 shallot peeled and halved
For the pho soup
- 2 lbs beef for soup see notes
- 3 inch daikon 1" slices, optional
- 4 qt water
- 2 oz rock sugar ~1/4 cup white sugar, or to taste
- 1/4 cup fish sauce or to taste
- 24 oz dried pho noodles or fresh, see notes
- 8 Vietnamese meatballs or more, cut in halves
- 1 lb sirloin roast thinly sliced
- 1 lb brisket or flank steak
- 1/2 lb tendon optional
- 1/2 lb omasum optional
To serve the pho
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1/2 medium onion sliced
- 3 cups bean sprouts blanched if desired
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 1 bunch Thai basil
- 1 jalapeño sliced
- hoisin sauce
To make the pho soup
Transfer charred aromatics along with sugar and all meats except the sirloin to Instant Pot/Pressure cooker. Fill to the max fill line with water, about 4 quarts. Set pressure to high and cook time to 35 minutes and cook. Quick release the pressure when cooking time is completed. See notes for stovetop instructions.
Once cool enough to taste, add fish sauce 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s just about overseasoned. Add extra sugar if needed. If you go too far, just add water. You may optionally strain the pho at this point to get as clear of a broth as possible.
Warm your bowls with hot tap water, then drain. Bring a pot of water to a boil and briefly blanch the noodles, then rinse with cold water and drain well. Divide noodles evenly into each of the warmed bowls. Thinly slice the sirloin (if needed) and top each bowl. Thickly chop all the other meats and divide evenly.
Cover with about 2 cups of hot broth per bowl and sprinkle chopped cilantro and sliced onions over top. Serve with a plate of bean sprouts, limes, Thai basil, and chilies. Have small dipping plates of sriracha and hoisin sauces for each person.
We used finger meat in this recipe but the choice of beef or bones is up to you. See the section on meats for more details.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, bring the beef to a boil along with enough water to cover for 5 mins, then drain and wash the pot. Add clean cold water and gently simmer the beef, tendons if using, aromatics, and daikon for 4-6 hours. You can do this part in a crockpot as well. Try to maintain the same level of water during the cooking process, checking back every 30 minutes or so. 2 hours before the soup is finished, add the brisket. 20 minutes before serving, add meatballs and tripe.
While the nutrition information is as accurate as possible, it is only representative if you consume all of the broth. It includes 1/2 of meat per bowl, which may be a lot more than you have if you didn't go for the optional meats, and includes 1 tbsp of fat per bowl. If you go with 1 tsp of fat, it is 806 calories, and if you go with no fat, it is 773 calories per bowl.
Calories: 888kcal | Carbohydrates: 76.7g | Protein: 80.7g | Fat: 27.4g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 217mg | Sodium: 1854mg | Potassium: 965mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15.1g