Even with the winter season drawing to a close (hopefully), there’s nothing more inviting that a warm bowl of soup.
If you don’t feel like the same stews every night, pho is a wonderful alternative to warm you up, or if you’re just in the mood for a comfy, home-cooked meal. It provides a nice balance of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat, giving you a satisfyingly full meal that’ll keep you plump for hours.
The recipe we’re about to detail also adds ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, anise, pepper, mint, and Thai chili, giving the concoction a unique flavour, and a wealth of health benefits.
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, sliced into quarter-size pieces
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 7 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 3 whole star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces flank steak, trimmed
- 8 ounces dried flat rice noodles (banh pho)
- 2 scallions, sliced on bias
- 1/2 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
- 1/4 small dried Thai chile, thinly sliced
Related: 5 Superfoods for a Cold Winter’s Day
1. Start by boiling a large pot of water over high heat. While you’re waiting for the water to come to a boil, multi-task and begin soaking the noodles in a large bowl of water until soft (roughly 20 minutes). You can put your steak in the freezer at this time, if you’d like to add some firmness before slicing later.
2. In another sauce pan, start cooking oil over medium-heat. Throw in some ginger and onions into the pan, sautéing until lightly charred. Then, add the broth, anise, cloves, and cinnamon to the mix. Boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Now, strain the broth into a bowl, discarding the remaining foods & spices. Put the broth back in the pan, adding the fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper.
3. When the pot of water you first put on the stove is boiling, toss in the softened noodles, cooking for 30 seconds. Now, drain the noodles, dividing them into six bowls – or, combine them directly with the broth, if you’re planning on saving the pho for the week. Next, remove the steak from the freezer, and slice thinly. Arrange the raw slices over the noodles.
4. Re-heat the broth in the saucepan, until it’s boiling once more, then ladle the contents onto the noodles & steak (this will cook the raw meat). Finally, if you’re serving at that moment, add the final touches: scallions, mint, bean sprouts, and chilies, or with your own garnishes.