This Pho Bò could probably be considered Vietnam’s national dish. The stock is usually made ahead of time.
- 10 oz dried rice stick noodles or rice vermicelli
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 lb beef sirloin or flank steak, cut into very thin slices
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cups bean sprouts, seed coats and tails removed, blanched until cooked
- 2 to 3 chilies, deseeded and sliced
- Ground white pepper
- Sprigs of cilantro leaves , garnish
- Sprigs of basil or mint, garnish
- 2 lemons or limes, cut into sections, to serve
- 1 portion Fish Sauce Dip
- 2 medium onions, peeled and bruised
- 2 in fresh ginger root, peeled and bruised
- 3 shallots
- 10 cups beef stock
- 1 lb beef shank or brisket
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon salt
Prepare the Broth first by browning the onions, shallots and ginger under a broiler for 5 to 10 minutes, turning several times, or dry-frying them in a skillet over low heat until slightly burnt on all sides. Remove and transfer to a stockpot. Add all the other Broth ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming off the foam and fat that float to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, until the beef is tender.
Prepare the Fish Sauce Dip. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the dried noodles and blanch until soft, about 5 minutes for rice stick noodles or 2 minutes for rice vermicelli. Remove and rinse with cold water, then drain.
Remove the beef from the Broth and set aside to cool. Strain the Broth to remove all the solids and return the clear Broth to the pot. Season with the fish sauce and keep the Broth hot over very low heat. Slice the beef into thin slices and set aside.
To serve, place the rice noodles into individual serving bowls and top with the cooked and raw beef slices, onion slices, bean sprouts and chilies. Ladle the hot Broth into each bowl (the raw beef will partially cook in the boiling soup), sprinkle with pepper and garnish with cilantro and basil or mint leaves. Serve hot with lemon or lime sections, and dipping bowls of Fish Sauce Dip on the side.