Quick & Easy Tonkinese Soup or Pho Soup Recipe
You probably know about the health benefits of beef broth, chicken broth, potassium broth, etc.1 But broth, as healing as it is, can be extremely boring. Why not spice it up with the fabulous flavors of the orient?:)
I started making Pho soup fairly recently and it has become a favorite soup with my friends and family. It is really easy to make. Needless to say, I make it on a regular basis now and I use organic ingredients as much as possible.
Here is my favorite recipe:
Pho Soup Herbs & Vegetables:
Small to medium bunch of the following: cilantro, basil and mint (mint is optional). There are many types of basil, you need one from an oriental store to set the flavors right. Wash and dry your herbs.
1- 2 cups of bean sprouts
1-2 limes cut in triangles or wedges
Rice noodles are the best for this soup. However, we used, udon, ramen and regular noodles successfully. You want to choose noodles that will be chewy and firm so they don’t fall apart and cloud your soup.
Condiments:* (Totally optional but these make everyone happy)
Toasted Sesame seed oil
Sriracha hot sauce or Chilli sauce or Tabasco sauce
Pho Soup meat:
If you are using meat to make the broth (in addition to bones), then no extra is necessary. Although this is not part of the traditional Pho soup recipe, I make small meat balls, boil them separately, then add them to the soup at the last moment.
Meat balls: (My own preference)
2 lb minced meat, lean or regular
1 tb spoon steak spice crushed or spices of your choice. (Steak spice: pepper, salt, coriander seeds, dry garlic, mustard seeds, nutmeg, dry onion.)
Boil the water and form small meat balls with wet hands (1/2 inch in diameter), carefully drop them in the hot water. Boil at medium heat for 10 -15 minutes, taste for readiness. Drain, let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Pho Soup Broth:
1 onion peeled and cut into quarters
2 inches of fresh ginger root cut in half
2-3 lb beef bones (not marrow bones, they will make the soup too fatty)
1/2 lb of beef meat * (optional – if you have good bones, meat is unnecessary)
1 tablespoon white vinegar (to help draw nutrients from the bones)
4 litters of water
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 cardamom pod
Optional Spices – If you like these traditional flavors you should also add:
1 whole star anise,
1/2 cinnamon stick,
( I omit these optional spices because not everyone in my house likes these soup flavors.)
Directions – Pho Broth:
Char onion and ginger: Set your oven to broil. Arrange onions and ginger on a baking sheet. Broil until ginger and onion begin to char, then turn them over and continue charring. Watch them carefully, they burn fast.
Broth: To a large pot add the charred ginger, onion, beef meat (if using) and beef bones.* Cover them with water and bring to a boil. Remove all scum, add pho spices and vinegar. Let it boil for 3 hours at medium heat. If you are using beef meat to make the broth, take it out in 1 – 1 and 1/2 hours. Cool the meat and cut it into small pieces and add it to the soup later. When meat cools down refrigerate it. When done, strain the broth.
* Some people suggest to parboil bones before, I use only bones from organic, grass fed cattle, therefore, I skip this step.
Arrange herbs and vegetables on a serving plate. Guests will dress their soup as they desire.
Arrange condiments on the table.
Boil your noodles according to directions on the package.
Bring your broth to a boil, taste, add more salt if needed. Add the meatballs or beef meat, cooked previously.
In a large bowl, serve noodles, meat balls, beef (if using), and pour over the broth. Let the guests add their own condiments, herbs and vegetables.
Enjoy while it is hot.
Let me know if you like it. And as always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please post them below.