Clay's Kitchen : Soup Recipes

Soup Recipes

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Phở (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Servings: 8

9 cups water
1 ½ pounds oxtail, chopped into 2-inch pieces, or 2 pounds. of beef bones
1 pound beef chuck, in one chunk
1 two-inch chunk fresh ginger root 3 shallots 2 star anise
1 finger-size stick cinnamon, optional
¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped
¼ cup scallion greens, chopped
1 large onion
4 ounces bean sprouts
several sprigs of sweet basil
½ pound beef shoulder roast or round, in one chunk
½ pound rice sticks
¼ cup nước mắm (fish sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
dash of MSG, optional
½ fresh lime, sliced into 4 wedges
½ fresh hot pepper, sliced horizontally into thin rings

extra nước mắm (fish sauce)
hoisin sauce
sriracha sauce

The biggest secret here is to ensure that the beef bones and oxtail are completely free of blood and other impurities. You need to "cleanse" them before you can use them to cook the stock. Put the bones in a large stockpot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain. Repeat the process twice more. Bring 9 cups of water to a boil. Drop in the oxtail and chuck. Return to boil for 10 minutes, removing the scum several times. Roast the chunk of ginger on a fork until it is slightly blackened. Do the same with the shallots. Add both to the broth, together with the star anise and cinnamon. Simmer for 1 ½ hours. While the soup is simmering, prepare the plate of condiments. Chop the coriander and scallion greens together; place in a bowl. Slice the onion paper-thin. Rinse the bean sprouts. You can optionally blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for 30 seconds; personally I prefer raw bean sprouts as they taste sweeter. Wash the sweet basil. Arrange everything in little piles on a big plate, along with the lime wedges and hot pepper slices. Slice the round or shoulder roast into paper-thin slices (about 3 x 4 inches). About 20 minutes before serving, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add the rice sticks. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander and run cold water over it. Set aside the noodles until you are ready to assemble the soup. After the soup has cooked for about 1 ½ hours, remove the chuck and oxtail, making certain they are tender. If they are not quite ready, return to the soup and cook a little longer. After you have removed the meat from the soup, add the nước mắm (fish sauce), salt, and MSG to the soup.

To assemble and serve the soup, distribute the noodles among the bowls, 1 bowl for each guest. Slice the cooked chuck and remove the meat from. the oxtail bones. Distribute the cooked chuck and oxtail meat over the noodles, then distribute the raw beef slices among the bowls. Add some of the onion slices, a few of the bean sprouts, and sprinkle with a little bit of coriander and scallion greens. (You can also add the condiments at this point if the diner prefers her onion, etc. in a slightly more "cooked" state.) Immediately prior to serving, add boiling broth to cover the ingredients in each bowl. This will cook the raw beef. If you prefer the beef to be more well-done, "blanch" them beforehand by putting a few pieces at a time in a ladle into the boiling stock in the pot. (The purist would use a separate, small saucepan of stock for this purpose to avoid the possibility of "clouding" the stock in the main pot.) Each diner can optionally add any number of the condiments from the condiment platter. (I usually add a bit of everything.) Make available the extra nước mắm (fish sauce) and hot sauce and hoisin sauce. (My wife usually likes to add a teaspoon or so of hoisin sauce to her bowl; I usually do not.)

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