September 30th, 2013
Phở is a Vietnamese rice noodle soup that consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. The dish is a popular street food in Vietnam, but can be found in almost any Vietnamese restaurant. Many of these restaurants serve phở with a wide variety of different cuts of beef, allowing you to choose from brisket, flank, tendon, tripe, meatballs, or any combination of them and more. Chicken is also an option, but in my experience, I’ve only ever eaten the beef phở .
For this recipe, I have opted to use Old Neighborhood Beef Shaved Steak, because it actually is quite convenient. The shaved steak is already sliced very thin, allow for its application in this recipe to be exactly what I needed. If I were to use different beef that was actually not pre-shaved (or pre-cut), I would have to cook it with the broth and watch it more carefully to ensure that the beef is not overcooked. By the end of the recipe, you will understand why shaved steak worked here.
As a note about a few of the other ingredients, a couple of them are used as a garnish and are added to the dish just prior to eating it. Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain bean sprouts and Thai basil, which very common garnishes typically used for this dish. However, I will still explain how to handle the bean sprouts, if you wish to add them.
Beef Steak Phở (recipe page can be found here)
2 packages of (bánh phở) rice noodles (28 oz. total)
1 1-lb. package of Old Neighborhood Beef Shaved Steak
2-7 lbs. beef bone marrow (the more the merrier; I used 2.6 lbs. myself)
1 peeled yellow onion
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
2 pieces of ginger, about the size of a thumb
3 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 yellow onion
1 tbsp. salt
1 white onion, thinly sliced
Thai basil leaves
Sriracha hot chili sauce
1. Heat a large pot of water on the stove. Make sure the amount of water you use will cover the bone marrow.
2. When the water is boiling, add the bone marrow and boil it for 5-10 minutes.
3. Dump the water, and rinse the marrow.
4. In a clean pot, add about 5 liters of water, the marrow, and the peeled whole yellow onion. If you are reusing your pot, make sure to clean it! It helps with the clarity of the broth. Heat it on high until boiling.
5. While you are waiting for the water to boil, you can deal with the broth spices.
6. Half the peeled yellow onion, and cut the ginger in thin ¼ inch slices.
7. Grill each of the star anises, cinnamon sticks, onion halves, and ginger slices directly on your stove until there is a bit of char on each. You can also opt to do this in your oven.
8. If there is too much char, make sure to clean it off.
9. Toss the onion halves into the pot of water that is cooking. Take the remaining charred spices, wrap them in cheesecloth, and toss that into the pot as well.
10. If your water is already boiling, reduce it to a simmer and let it cook at a medium low heat.
11. Allow this to cook for at least an hour.
12. If you have bean sprouts, you can take this time to blanch them and set them aside.
13. After an hour has passed, soak the thin white onion slices and rice noodles (in separate bowls!) in cold water for 30 minutes.
14. After 30 minutes, drain the onion slices and set them aside.
15. Drain the soaked rice noodles, and separate them into 4-5 oz. servings.
16. Remove the spices in the cheesecloth, as well as the onion halves from the pot of broth.
17. Add 1 tbsp. of salt to the broth.
18. When you are ready to serve, blanch a serving of noodles in boiling water for 10-20 seconds.
19. Drain and place the noodles in a large bowl.
20. Add white onion slices, about 5 oz. of Old Neighborhood Beef Shaved Steak, some chopped scallions and cilantro. Note that the shaved steak is still raw in this step!
21. Spoon a generous amount (enough that you can’t see the noodles) of boiling broth directly on top of the steak. Doing so allows the shaved steak to cook right then and there. Submerge the steak a bit if the top surface is not cooked through. And as I previously mentioned, since the shaved steak is sliced so conveniently thin, it works well for this recipe. Otherwise, you would have to slice your own or cook your meat with the broth at the same time.
22. For each bowl, squeeze your chosen amount of lime wedges (I used 2 wedges for myself!), and add your chosen amount of bean sprouts, mint leaves, and Thai basil leaves.
23. Serve with hoisin sauce and sriracha hot sauce, by squirting them directly into your bowl and stirring. You can also have a bit of each on the side for dipping.
24. Repeat for the remaining servings and enjoy!