Beef Pho (Pho Bo)

The word “Pho” is pronounced as if it’s a question, even though, for me, the answer is always “Yes!”

Quantities on this recipe, which was taken from Vietnamese Cooking, by Paulette Do Van, are a bit approximate. There’s no indication just how much beef stock per serving; I’d guess 1-1/2 C per person.

Pho is usually eaten with two hands — chopsticks in one hand, plastic or ceramic soup spoon in the other. It’s a messy, slurpy meal that’s hard to eat fast. Do you eat the noodles and then slurp up the soup? Not me — I slurp my broth first, then eat the solid stuff at the bottom. Either way, it’s yummy.

8 oz broad rice noodles
1 onion, sliced into rings
Juice from 1 lemon
Small handful cilantro sprigs
4 lettuce leaves, shredded
Small handful fresh mint or Thai basil sprigs
Handful of fresh bean sprouts
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 small lemon or lime, cut into quarters
Beef stock
4 oz raw rump steak, sliced paper thin or shredded
6 T fish sauce
Soak the noodles for 30 minutes in warm water, until soft. Drain and keep warm. Soak onion in lemon rings for 20 minutes.
Arrange cilantro, mint, lettuce, sprouts, and lemon or lime on a plate and place on the table. Heat stock to the boiling point.

Each person places noodles and vegetables in their bowl, with the beef on top in a single layer. Pouring the boiling stock over the meat cooks it and releases the scents and flavors of the herbs. Add fish sauce and a squeeze of lemon to taste.