Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Bowl Of Pho Bo (Beef Pho) & A Wonderful Parcel From Bo

With the temperature hovering just above the single digits for the last few days,  the thought of devouring a hot bowl of pho in a warm room has never been stronger. I have been wanting to make beef pho for a very long time but I always ended up making chicken pho for some reasons. Well... carrying 2 kgs of beef bones around on top of the rest of the ingredients is not really something I would call fun but since one of the tummies was with me during my last shopping trip to Victoria Street, it was quite a different story. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients needed and the time taken to make the broth, the end result will have you rushing out the door for more beef bones. If you are not a fan of beef, have a look at my chicken pho. 
P.S  It is an absolute must to simmer the broth for more than 3 hours. Add beef balls and beef tendons to your pho if your heart desires.

recipe adapted from Mai Pham's "Pleasures Of The Vietnamese Table"
and Didier  Corlou's "Vietnamese Cuisine"
makes 6 to 8 serves
you'll need;
1/2 kg of beef fillets, thinly sliced*
2 lemon, cut into wedges
3 cups of bean sprouts
1 bunch of Vietnamese mint
1 bunch of Thai basil
3 spring onions, chopped
1 bunch of coriander leaves
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 bird chilies, chopped
* place beef fillets in the freezer for 2 hours to firm up before slicing.

for the broth;
2 kg of beef bones (just tell your Asian butcher it is for making pho)
1 kg of braising beef (gravy beef) cut in half
1 large yellow onion, charred and cleaned
10 cm knob of ginger, charred and cleaned and bashed
3 star anise
5 cloves
1/4 cup of fish sauce
3 tbs of rock sugar
sea salt to taste

Char onion and ginger til blacken. Rinse under running tap and remove all burnt bits.

Place bones and braising beef in a stock pot and bring it to a vigorous boil for 5 minutes, this helps to remove impurities which will cloud the broth. Remove bones and meat from the pot and rinse under running tap for a minute. Clean stock pot and return bones and meat to a new pot of boiling water. Add the rest of the stock ingredients.

When the water returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Skim the surface of any foam and fat from time to time (til the end). Remove a piece of the beef after an hour or til it is tender, soak it in a bowl of cold water to prevent discolouration. Continue to simmer for a further 2 hours. Remove all solids and check for seasonings.

Slice braised beef and set aside.

Slice beef fillets thinly. This is made easy by freezing the beef for at least 2 hours.

Have everything ready, meanwhile blanch noodles in batches.

Place blanched noodles in a bowl, top with braised beef and raw beef fillets. Ladle some of the hot amber colour broth over and top with some onion slices, spring onions and coriander leaves. Help yourself with the rest of the toppings.

On top of that something that warmed my heart arrived from America. I received the beautiful "Southern  Cooking" I won from my fellow blogger friend Bo from "Bo's Bowl". Thank you very much my friend! Body, soul and heart all warmed up, blessed!

Being a southerner with a big warm heart he also sent me a few local publications and a lovely note along with the book. I will be getting ideas from all these reading materials over the weekend. Meanwhile head over to Bo's blog for some good old southern hospitality! 


  1. hahaa..I be the first one here. This is my favorite too. I want to order one bowl with chilli and more basil leaves please ;))
    That's a nice cookbook from Bo, hope to see more of your new cooking and recipes!

  2. Oh it has been so cold and this delicious beef pho is just perfect without being too heavy. I might try the chicken version until I have a helper to help me carry the bones lol
    Looking forward to some southern dishes from you soon!

  3. This looks like total comfort food! Way too hot for this kind of food here now though...I'm so glad you got the package...and it was intact!

  4. I want a bowl too. I made some instant pho with beef balls a few days ago, nothing your wonderful homemade version!

  5. Feel like grabbing that bowl, looks comforting..

  6. Pho bo is my fave Viet food! U made me so hungry now :)

  7. Lol @ the title pho bo and a parcel from bo :) Looking forward to some great dishes from the book meanwhile I am going to pretend I am eating a bowl of this fabulous pho!

  8. How noodle soup is great comfort food and also good to eat this hot season when I don't have big appetite! Thanks for sharing the recipe with the lovely book gift :)

  9. I love pho! I'm being a bit slow here but what is the purpose of charring the onion and ginger?

  10. Lovely bowl of comforting soup/pho.
    So it finally arrived. Lovely little parcel of book and mags. Enjoy your books!

  11. Great looking pho bo you have there. I can imagine how tasty the homemade broth is minus the msg. Great work and enjoy your book and mags!

  12. Anncoo,
    Absolutely! I like it with extra chili and basil too.
    I will be doing a lot of reading this weekend.

    KL girl in MELB ,
    You are absolutely right. I am actually partial to the chicken version instead.

    Bo ,
    Very comforting indeed! Try making this when on colder months.
    I am enjoying my new reading materials.

    shanshan ,
    Haha at least you added some beef balls to your instant noodles.

    Thank you very much!

    Thank you! it is mine too, perfect for the cold nights.

    darren ,
    Haha I am glad you like it. :)

    the lacquer spoon ,
    It is perfect even for a hot day.thank you very much!

    Mr Noodles,
    The charring process will intensify the flavour of both onion and ginger.

    Cool Lassi(e),
    It is indeed. I certainly will, thank you!

    Tricia F ,
    Thank you! It is absolutely worth the effort. I will, thank you.

  13. this is our family's favourite too. My son can anytime eats a big big bowl. I used to buy this same brand of thin rice noodles. It is so good. I use this for ipoh ho fun too.

  14. You are doing a very good job with the pho. I cannot remember the last time I cook pho at home.

  15. You made PHO! Nice one... I will have to follow suit sometime soon!

  16. Lucky YOU!
    The beef noodle soup looks so different from the one I know...but it looks so wonderful!

  17. Oh, this looks delicious!!! Congratulations on winning the cookbook from Bo. Bet it is a great one!

  18. Yes it has been very cold and delicious home cooked pho would have been great. Looks very delicious!

  19. gosh i would love to have a bowl of that....

  20. I've never heard of this but it looks very good! I love soups in cold weather.

  21. 煮三個小時的湯底一定很甜呀!我家不吃牛肉那就要試你的雞河了。

  22. Great!! Pho bo looks and sounds great!
    I Love soups no matter the season.
    Big hugs!
    ~B xx

  23. Nothing like a comforting bowl of good pho! That should warm you up nicely. Here I just need to walk outside...heheh! To get warm not for the pho (darn I wish I could have some).

    Congrats on winning the wonderful Southern Cooking cookbook. There should be a lot more comfort food in that!

  24. Your pho looks good! I always head for Mekong whenever I'm in Melbourne, but in future I know where I'll be heading, ha, ha!

  25. great job and congrats on the win! you should also submit this to delicious VN #3!

  26. I love pho! So delicious and so refreshing with the fresh herbs and veg.

  27. cette soupe de nouille est originale et doit être divinement savoureuse
    j'aime beaucoup
    bonne soirée

  28. Ici, il fait tellement chaud qu'on n'aspire qu'à du froid.
    Je garde ta soupe pour quand il fera plus frais.
    A bientôt.

  29. It looks like you have some great reading to look forward to. The pho sounds wonderful. Every Sunday instead of heading out for pancakes we head to a restaurant in town that makes pretty darn good pho. I love the stuff. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  30. Hey buddy you have done it again! This is actually quite simple to make, don't we often braise for 3 hours anyway. Looking forward to some new dishes from those reading materials you got!

  31. yummmy! wish i had a bowl of pho right now! but too lazy making it ...takes too too long :P.. the bowl is warming me up now..its so cold!

  32. Jane Chew,
    Me too I use the same brand for Ipoh hor fun :) It is good he loves noodle soup!

    Pham ,
    Thank you very much! Not something I will be making all the time, maybe the chicken version.

    You must, it is going to be very cold for a while yet.

    Oh this is the Vietnamese version, I will do Taiwanese and Thai next.

    Pam ,
    Thank you very much! It is very exciting!

    CW ,
    It is indeed! Thank you!

    Thank you :)

    Michael Rivers ,
    You must try it when you are at a Vietnamese restaurant next!

    大肥 ,

    Thank you very much! It is great for all seasons indeed! xxx

    Lyndsey ,
    Lucky you! I will have to wait for a while...
    I am very excited to try some of the dishes out!

    Cheah ,
    Thank you very much! I spent many nights there during my uni years lol I will cook this when you visit.

    Ravenous Couple ,
    Thank you very much! I will submit this :)

    I think so too :)

    Merci beaucoup!

    Merci beaucoup!

    Mary ,
    Oh I am enjoying the book and mags :)
    I enjoy having this for breakfast too, pancakes can wait :)

    It is very simple indeed. Do try it.
    I am thinking southern fried chicken :)

    Thank you very much! Don't be lazy! :)


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