Delicious Recipes from Lowcountry

Quick Beef Pho

Pho, a traditional Vietnamese rice noodle soup often made with beef or chicken, is a great go to meal, anytime of the year.

The way to correctly pronounce “pho” is as in “do re mi FA so...” I learned this during a kitchen session with Chef Di Wang, owner of Relish Café. He invited me into his kitchen for a tutorial on the making of pho. He says that the stock is the most important part of the entire dish, with its key ingredients of beef bones, oxtail bones, chicken bones, onions, cinnamon and star anise.

A vegetarian pho can be made with vegetable broth. After about nine hours of cooking the stock, he strains it and then refrigerates it. It becomes thick, but not too gelatinous, when chilled.

“Everybody’s a cook in China because both grandparents and parents cooked when we grew up, so everybody cooks,” Wang says. “It’s very, very hard to become a chef in China. There are very intense exams and it’s taken very seriously there.”

Quick Beef Pho


(Serves 2)


½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 clove of star anise
5 cups high-quality beef broth
¼ pound raw sirloin or round eye
4 ounces dried rice noodles
Salt to taste (noodles can be boiled a day in advance and kept refrigerated)


Bean sprouts,
chopped green onion
chopped cilantro
fresh basil leaves
lime wedges
hoisin sauce and

Heat cinnamon and star anise in a medium pot and dry roast until aromas are released, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add beef stock, bring to a simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Wrap the steak in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut into 1/8” slices across the grain, then cover and refrigerate. In a second medium pot, cook the rice noodles in boiling water for 1 to 4 minutes, or follow package directions. Remove immediately using a strainer, then run under cool water as noodles may begin to stick together. Arrange cooked rice noodles in two deep serving bowls – if noodles are very sticky, toss in a few drops of vegetable oil. Top cooked noodles with a small handful of fresh bean sprouts and chopped green onion, then divide the slices of raw beef into bowls. Salt to taste. Remove and discard star anise, and, using a ladle to avoid spillage, place piping hot broth into the bowls — it will cook the raw beef immediately. Squeeze in juice from a wedge of lime, then top with additional toppings of chopped green onion and cilantro, and basil leaves. Serve immediately with a side dish of sriracha and hoisin sauce. Using chopsticks, dip the beef into the sauces. Avoid adding the sauces into the pho, as it will alter the flavors.

Delicious Recipes from Lowcountry

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