Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soup (pho)

Recipe by Kevin Young
READY IN: 9hrs




  • Place the oxtails in a large stockpot and add the water.
  • Bring the water to a full boil, then reduce heat and bring water to a simmer.
  • Scrape any scum off the top of the water and discard.
  • Cut the onion in half and peel off the outer portion.
  • Place on a baking sheet along with the ginger and broil in the over about 20 minutes, making sure not to blacken it.
  • Turn over halfway through.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Place the star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel seeds in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it shut with twine.
  • Add the spice pack, onion halves, ginger, bay leaves, salt, and fish sauce to the broth.
  • Allow the broth to simmer at least 5-6 hours (to your taste) uncovered.
  • Remove the spice pack, onions, ginger, and bay leaves and discard.
  • Remove the oxtails and set them aside.
  • When cool enough to handle, remove the meat and trim of any remaining fat.
  • Set the meat aside and return the bones to the broth.
  • Allow the broth to simmer another hour or two until you achieve the desired taste then remove the bones.
  • You may adjust the salt, but you don't want it too salty.
  • Soak the rice noodles in COLD water 15-20 minutes, while starting a large pot of water boiling.
  • While the noodles are soaking, place the cilantro, basil leaves, mint leaves, sliced onions, sliced scallions, and bean sprouts on a serving platter.
  • After the noodles have soaked, place them in the boiling water and allow to cook until tender, but don't let them get mushy.
  • It should only take a couple minutes.
  • Rinse the noodles in cold water if not serving immediately.
  • When ready to eat (you can do this earlier, like when you're boiling the water for the noodles) return the broth to a rolling boil.
  • Place the noodles in a serving bowl and arrange the sliced meat (leftover oxtail meat if desired) over them.
  • Ladle the boiling broth over the noodles and beef, making sure to cover the meat.
  • Serve and allow each person to place the desired amount of garnish from the platter, hoisin sauce, and sriracha in their own bowl to taste.