Hanoi Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Bo)
By Periplus Editors, Vietnamese Cooking Made Easy: Simple, Flavorful and Quick Meals
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, a member of the Periplus Publishing Group.
This may well be considered Vietnam’s national dish. The Vietnamese eat it at any time of the day, but it is especially popular as a breakfast food. What makes this soup so convenient is that you can cook it ahead of time, storing the stock in one container and the remaining ingredients in another.
Serves 6 to 8
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 11/4 hours
10 oz (300 g) dried rice stick noodles or rice vermicelli
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 lb (500 g) beef sirloin or flank steak, cut into very thin slices
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cups (7 oz/200 g) bean sprouts, seed coats and tails removed, blanched until cooked
2 to 3 finger-length chilies, deseeded and sliced
Ground white pepper
Sprigs of coriander leaves (cilantro), to garnish
Sprigs of basil or mint,to garnish
2 lemons or limes, cut into sections, to serve
1 portion Fish Sauce Dip
2 medium onions, peeled and bruised
2 in (5 cm) fresh ginger root, peeled and bruised
10 cups (2 1/2 liters) beef stock
1 lb (500 g) beef shank or brisket
2 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
1 Prepare the Broth first by browning the onions, shallots and ginger under a broiler for 5 to 10 minutes, turning several times, or dry-frying them in a skillet over low heat until slightly burnt on all sides. Remove and transfer to a stockpot. Add all the other Broth ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming off the foam and fat that float to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, until the beef is tender.
2 Prepare the Fish Sauce Dip. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the dried noodles and blanch until soft, about 5 minutes for rice stick noodles or 2 minutes for rice vermicelli. Remove and rinse with cold water, then drain.
3 Remove the beef from the Broth and set aside to cool. Strain the Broth to remove all the solids and return the clear Broth to the pot. Season with the fish sauce and keep the Broth hot over very low heat. Slice the beef into thin slices and set aside.
4 To serve, place the rice noodles into individual serving bowls and top with the cooked and raw beef slices, onion slices, bean sprouts and chilies. Ladle the hot Broth into each bowl (the raw beef will partially cook in the boiling soup), sprinkle with pepper and garnish with coriander (cilantro) and basil or mint leaves. Serve hot with lemon or lime sections, and dipping bowls of Fish Sauce Dip on the side.