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Vietnamese pho bò recipe image

Print Vietnamese pho bò

Probably adapted from the colonial French pot-au-feu, Vietnamese pho bò is one of those fantastic rustic dishes, lightened by garnishes and spices. It usually contains at least two cuts of beef, one slow cooked and a second cut very thinly and cooked briefly in the broth just prior to serving. If you feel inclined, you can also make some meatballs from the mince (with Chinese five spice and a little fish sauce) and add those 20 minutes before serving. Hoisin sauce and sriracha hot chilli sauce invariably accompany bowls of pho bò, but they should never be added to the stock itself because they will ruin the delicate, beefy flavour.


  • 2 onions, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Big knob fresh ginger, halved lengthways
  • 600g or 800g slow roast beef joint
  • 70ml fish sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 litres beef stock
  • 450g wide rice noodles, cooked & cooled according to pack instructions
  • 300g rump steak, very thinly sliced into ribbons at a 45° angle (chill/freeze before slicing)
  • 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
  • Garnishes: coriander, Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges, jalapeño chilli rings, sriracha hot chilli & hoisin sauce
  • for the spice bag:
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp fennel
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 5 star anise
  • 5 cloves


  1. Brush the garlic, onion and ginger with oil and grill, fry or roast until charred and beginning to soften.
  2. Put all the spices in a muslin bag then put in a large saucepan along with the beef joint, charred onions, ginger and garlic, fish sauce, and salt and sugar. Add the beef stock, bring to a simmer and cook for an hour. To check it’s done, remove the meat from the pan and poke with the tip of a chopstick; the juices should run clear.
  3. Take it out of the broth, rinse under cold water and put it in a bowl with some ice to cool ASAP. This will keep the texture firm. Sieve and return the stock to the boil over a high heat. Check the seasoning and add more fish sauce, sugar and salt if needed.
  4. Prepare the garnishes - arrange the basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges and chillies on a plate and place on the table with bowls of the sriracha hot chilli sauce and hoisin sauce.
  5. Slice the cooked beef as thinly as possible. Return it to the pan to warm along with the noodles then ladle into bowls, leaving some broth in the pan.
  6. Add the sliced rump steak to the pan and cook over a moderate heat for a minute. Ladle onto the beef and noodles with the remaining broth.
  7. Top with the spring onions and serve with the garnishes. Retrieve the meat pieces from the broth and dunk in the sauces as you eat.
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