Beef Pho

I bought a beautiful, lean piece beef skirt steak from Gilmore Braes Heritage Beef a few weeks back specifically to make this Vietnamese, rare beef soup. I’d made beef stock with their bones and dreamed of flavouring it with exotic star anise and ginger. I think this soup is wonderful. In Vietnam, it’s served at breakfast time, but I think it makes a great lunch or dinner. I like the kind of ritual of it: choosing the fresh fillings, adding them to your bowl and dousing them with broth so hot it cooks the thin strips of lean beef. It’s a soup that brings together the joys of deeply flavoured slow cooked beef, with the freshness of the flavours of south-east Asia.

Serves 2


700 clear beef stock
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
fresh ginger
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar


2 cups cooked rice noodles
1 cup bean shoots
1-2 cups fresh herbs (including spring onion, coriander, mint, Vietnamese   mint, Vietnamese basil)
1 fresh red chilli
1 fresh lime
2 teaspoons raw sugar
200 grams good quality beef skirt steak, frozen

To make the broth: place the stock in a saucepan. Break up the cinnamon stick and star anise with your hands and add them to the pot with the peppercorns. Finely slice the garlic and ginger into matchsticks and add to the saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Cook on a medium low heat to infuse the flavours.

Meanwhile, divide the noodles between the serving bowls.

Remove the beef from the freezer and leave at room temperature for up to thirty minutes. Using a very sharp knife, slice the frozen beef into very fine slices. Arrange these slices on the serving platter and allow them to come to room temperature.

Wash the bean shoots and arrange neatly on the serving platter.

Wash the herbs. Finely slice the spring onions at an angle and arrange neatly on the platter. Roughly chop the stalks of the coriander and arrange on the platter, topped with the leaves. Repeat for any other herbs.

Finely slice the chilli at an angle and arrange on the platter.

Slice two cheeks from the lime and arrange on the platter.

Tip the sugar into a small dish or straight onto the platter.

When you are ready to serve, turn the heat under the beef broth to high and take the platter to the table. When diners have added their desired fillings to their noodles the broth should have come to a roaring boil. Strain the broth and tip it over the bowls straight away and stir. The broth should be hot enough to cook the beef. Season with lime juice and sugar.

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5 Responses to Beef Pho

  1. Chas Spain says:

    Looks scrumptious – hubby has been told to eat healthy (and lose weight) – have to say this quietly as it’s a bit of a sensitive issue. I bought some lean steak so might treat him to this tomorrow although it won’t look quite as beautiful as these pics.

    • Susan says:

      Ooo you should! It’s wonderful, and so much fun to eat together, choosing your bits and pieces.

      Thanks for the compliments on the pictures! xo

  2. Libby says:

    I first saw your post on my phone, and am so happy to be back at my computer to gaze at it again. You have really inspired me. Pho and Banh Mi are both on my list to try and recreate. Great pictures and wonderful sounding recipe. Thanks Susan. xo Libby

  3. Pingback: Black pepper beef | Susan's Sumptuous Suppers

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