DIY Vietnamese Pho: Healthy, Fresh, & So Delish

VietnamesePhoPhoto: Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.
America's Test Kitchen — a real, 2,500-square-foot test kitchen just outside of Boston — is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their mission? To develop the absolute best recipes by testing, then testing again (and again…) so you feel confident enough in the kitchen to cook everything from a simple, mid-week meal to an entire Sunday dinner party menu.
Advertisement
To produce Vietnamese beef pho broth with the flavor and complexity of the real deal without the fuss, we blanch ground beef in water to make the base. We then add fish sauce, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, star anise, cloves, salt, and peppercorns to bring complex spice notes into play. The substance of the soup comes in the form of rice noodles, plus wafer-thin slices of easy-to-find strip steak, which cook in the hot broth.
Vietnamese Beef Pho
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
2 onions, quartered through root end
12 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup fish sauce, plus extra for seasoning
1 (4-inch) piece ginger, sliced into thin rounds
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for seasoning
6 star anise pods
6 whole cloves
Salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 (1-pound) boneless strip steak, trimmed and halved
14-16 ounces (1/8-inch-wide) rice noodles
1/3 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
3 scallions, sliced thin (optional)
Bean sprouts
Sprigs fresh Thai or Italian basil
Lime wedges
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha sauce
Advertisement
Instructions
1. Break ground beef into rough 1-inch chunks and drop in Dutch oven. Add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring mixture to boil over high heat. Boil for two minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain ground beef in colander and rinse well under running water. Wash out pot and return ground beef to pot.
2. Place 6 onion quarters in pot with ground beef. Slice remaining 2 onion quarters as thin as possible and set aside for garnish. Add broth, 2 cups water, fish sauce, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, star anise, cloves, 2 teaspoons salt, and peppercorns to pot and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
3. Pour broth through colander set in large bowl. Discard solids. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer lined with triple thickness of cheesecloth; add water as needed to equal 11 cups. Return broth to pot and season with extra sugar and salt (broth should taste over-seasoned). Cover and keep warm over low heat.
4. While broth simmers, place steak on large plate and freeze until very firm, 35 to 45 minutes. Once firm, cut against grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Return steak to plate and refrigerate until needed.
Advertisement
5. Place noodles in large container and cover with hot tap water. Soak until noodles are pliable, 10 to 15 minutes; drain noodles. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add drained noodles and cook until almost tender, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain immediately and divide noodles among individual bowls.
6. Bring broth to rolling boil over high heat. Divide steak among individual bowls, shingling slices on top of noodles. Pile reserved onion slices on top of steak slices and sprinkle with cilantro and scallions, if using. Ladle hot broth into each bowl. Serve immediately, passing bean sprouts, basil sprigs, lime wedges, hoisin, Sriracha, and extra fish sauce separately.
Want more? Take a peek at one of the team's glossies, Cook's Illustrated, or any one of their must-have cookbooks.
Advertisement

More from Food & Drinks

While some people might be trying to get you to delete your Instagram food pics, there are many, many more tinkering around in their high-tech laboratories...
Growing up, your parents may have told you to be grateful for your food, because some people are starving. Now, your own meals can actually help other ...
Coffee lovers of the world, get ready. We have news that might make even a die-hard caffeine addict à la Lorelai Gilmore jump up and down in excitement. ...
These out of this world doughnuts are topped with a vanilla galaxy. Oh, and did we mention that they only have two ingredients
DIY cotton candy ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker? Winning
Whether you're brunching or, uh, dinnering, etiquette is of the utmost importance when dining out. And no, we don't mean keeping your elbows off the table...
Once in college, I had a friend Google "how to make a grilled cheese," and I remember being completely baffled that someone would need a step-by-step ...
(Paid Content) Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Yawn. Standard-issue pancakes? Predictable. To effectively get us out of bed in the a.m., we prefer a morning ...
Once the vegetable our moms would have to beg us to try ("just a bite!"), today, we can't get enough of cauliflower. It practically defines the word ...
Great drinks, a perfect soundtrack, the perfect lighting: all these things can make a party good. But what makes a get-together memorable? The food. Once ...
A few months back, Zoe Bain went boldly where neither of us had gone before: She completely barred herself from anything takeout (yes, even coffee) for two...
Every time we log into Amazon, it feels like everything — movies, tech gadgets, and random articles of clothing — is competing for our attention. But, ...
S'mores are a messy dessert favorite. But why not skip the sticky situation and enjoy yours in a cone
This may be news to you, but living in New York is kind of expensive. But, while it may always be the land of $17 cocktails and unmentionable rents, the ...