Pho Bo (Beef Pho Noodle Soup)

Beat rainy day blues with a bowl of clear, homemade Vietnamese pho.

August 2010 | By
Pho Bo (Beef Pho Noodle Soup)
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Preparation Time


Date Published

August 2010

Cool, rainy nights call for a deliciously comforting hot soup. And what could be more perfect than a bowlful of steaming homemade Vietnamese pho? Grab your stock pot and start simmering away.

Prep Time
15 minutes 
Cooking Time
3 hours


For the beef broth
2 large onions
1 (4-inch) piece ginger (about 120 grams)
1 1/2 kilos beef soup bones (bulalo cut)
1 long cinnamon stick
3 pieces star anise
5 whole cloves
250 grams beef brisket,
      cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup fish sauce (patis)
1/8 cup palm sugar, panucha, or brown sugar
1 beef bouillon cube

450 grams dried banh pho noodles or rice noodles,
       prepared according to package directions
120 grams rib eye or sirloin,
      sliced very thinly (sukiyaki cut)
1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings and
      soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
1 stalk leeks, green part cut into thin rings
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
ground black pepper to taste

blanched bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, cilantro,
      bird's eye chili, and lime for topping (optional)

1  Make the beef broth: Roast the onion and ginger in an open flame until completely charred; cool. Remove the charred skin and rinse. Slice onions in quarters and ginger in half. In a large stockpot, place bones and cover with cold water. Boil over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes to allow impurities to be released. Discard the water and rinse the bones. Place bones in a clean, large stockpot and add 12 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Remove scum that rises to the surface. Add onion, ginger, and the rest of the ingredients for the broth. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef brisket and set aside in the refrigerator. Continue simmering the bones for another 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any fat. Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt, fish sauce, and sugar. Strain using a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Place broth in a stockpot and keep hot.

Prepare noodles by soaking in water until soft as per package instructions. Blanch noodles for a few seconds in hot water, drain, then transfer to serving bowls. Blanch the rib eye or sirloin in the same water for a few seconds just until beef changes color from pink to brown.

Top noodles with the cooked beef brisket and rib eye or sirloin. Add steaming hot broth. Garnish with onion, leeks, and cilantro. Season with black pepper. Serve with blanched bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, cilantro, bird’s eye chili, and sliced lime, if desired.

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