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Pho (Beef Noodle Soup)

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Pho (Beef Noodle Soup)
Christina Soong-Kroeger

Vietnamese Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) is a hugely popular dish in Australia. If you're a meat eater living in an Australian city chances are you'll have a favourite, local Pho restaurant.

Traditionally pho is made by boiling beef bones with star anise, cinnamon sticks, cassia bark, ginger, garlic and onions for several hours to produce a rich, fragrant and clear soup.

The boiling hot soup is then poured over fresh flat rice noodles before sliced raw beef (and sometimes cooked beef balls and tripe) are added. The dish is then presented to the diner who adds raw bean sprouts, fresh herbs (coriander, basil, spring onions) and a squeeze of lemon as they like. They can also add fresh chilli and/or a combination of chilli sauce and hoisin sauce.

Pho is an incredibly nourishing and healthy, low-fat meal. The combination of the rich meaty soup and the fresh herbs and fresh lemon juice is astonishingly good and perfect for those watching their weight. Those with healthy appetites will not be disappointed either.

This recipe -- Pho in a Flash -- is designed to be made in under 30 minutes so it can be enjoyed as a speedy after work supper.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams eye fillet
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced small
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 cassia bark
  • 2 cardamon pods, slightly bruised
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 x 4 cm piece ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 packet fresh or dehydrated flat white rice noodles
  • 100 grams beansprouts
  • Handful fresh coriander and basil
  • 1 lemon, cut into segments
  • 2 fresh chillies, cut into pieces (optional)
  • Hot chilli sauce (optional)
  • Hoi sin sauce (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Wash and pat dry beef before putting in the freezer. This makes it easier to slice.
  2. Add stock and water to large saucepan and then add two thirds of the onions, fish sauce, cinnamon, cassia bark, cardamom, star anise and ginger.
  3. Cook for twenty minutes, skimming scum as necessary.
  4. Strain twice through fine meshed sieve to remove all the stock ingredients and then add sugar. Keep simmering on low.
  5. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to pack instructions and set aside.
  6. Remove meat from freezer and slice into thin slices.
  7. Put the been sprouts, fresh herbs, lemon and fresh chilli on a plate and place on the dining table for guests to help themselves.
  8. Put the chilli and hoi sin sauces into a serving bowl on the table.
  9. To serve, place portion noodles into a deep bowl. Pour over boiling soup and then place a small amount of raw onions and slices of raw beef on top.
  10. Serve individual bowls of noodles to guests and allow them to garnish with bean sprouts, herbs, lemon and sauces as desired.
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