It’s time to mix up your midweek meal rotation with this traditional Vietnamese dish.
Pho – pronounced ‘fuh’, not ‘foe’ – may be Vietnam’s national dish (and favoured lunch of many a ravenous office worker), but its origins lie over 6,000 miles away in France. Many believe the name was adapted from the French dish ‘pot-au-feu’, a slow-cooked beef and vegetable stew popular during the French colonial rule of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Quick to prepare (just remember to prep the stock a day in advance) and brimming with flavour, pho is a dish that can be easily recreated at home. Or, of course, you could book flights to Hanoi and taste your way around the city’s best pho stalls instead – but we recommend you try your hand at making it at home first.
Traditional Vietnamese pho recipe
Preparation time: 1 hour 45 minutes, plus overnight refrigeration
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 1kg beef short ribs
- 5cm fresh ginger, peeled, sliced and pounded
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 whole star anise, pounded
- 2 cinnamon sticks, pounded
- 400g dried rice stick noodles
- 350g thinly sliced beef fillet
- 3 tbsps fish sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
- 125g beansprouts, trimmed
- 2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
- A handful each of fresh Thai basil, Vietnamese mint and coriander
- 6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
Step 1: Place the beef ribs in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes then drain and wash the ribs. Return them to the pan and add 2 litres more cold water along with the ginger, onion, garlic, star anise and cinnamon. Return to the boil and simmer gently for 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender.
Step 2: Carefully remove the ribs from the stock and set aside to cool. Thinly shred the meat, discarding bones. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool. Refrigerate both the meat and the stock overnight.
Step 3: The next day, soak the noodles in a bowlful of hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, until softened. Drain well, shake dry and divide the noodles between four large bowls.
Step 4: Meanwhile, skim and discard the layer of fat from the cold stock and return the pan to a medium heat until just boiling. Stir in the shredded meat, beef fillet, fish sauce, salt, sugar and lime juice. Place the beef fillet on the noodles, spoon over the stock and top with the beansprouts.
Step 5: Serve the bowls of pho with a plate of the garnishes in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves.
Recipe from Oodles Of Noodles by Louise Pickford (£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now.
View more recipes from Stylist here.
Image: Photography by Ian Wallace for Oodles Of Noodles by Louise Pickford