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daring cooks: vietnamese pho (beef)

Recipe: vietnamese beef pho

NaBloWriMo day 14. I’m blogging daily and trying not to lose it.

Eat on $30 day 4. I’ll cover what we ate on day 4 tomorrow since the Daring Cooks challenge usually goes live at midnight. This posting date was set in stone millennia ago, but I made it (and we ate it) last week, so it isn’t part of the Eat on $30 challenge.

It’s my Dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Baba! I hope you have an awesome day. Love, JenJen.

Did you see the giveaway for 2 $25 Macy’s gift cards? Go! Go enter! Then come back because this recipe RAWKS!

daring cooks – we slice, we dice, we sizzle, baby!

It’s time for the Daring Cooks again after last month’s hiatus. Let’s pay proper homage to the ladies of the kitchen… the DARING KITCHEN, that is: lovable Lis of La Mia Cucina and irresistable Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice. Our hostess this month is one of my favorite chicas of the food blogging world, Jaden from Steamy Kitchen. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person last month at the BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco – such a sweetheart.

Here’s the official line: The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

The challenge for October was Vietnamese pho. Jaden gave us a lot of options to choose from, but I went straight for the long version of the Vietnamese beef pho recipe. I have been wanting to make beef pho for years and this was the kick in the patootie I needed. I only made a half recipe since we had to empty our fridge of perishables before starting the Eat on $30 challenge. The first step was to roast the ginger and onion in the oven. While that was roasting, I parboiled the beef bones ten minutes for the precious broth then drained them and cleared the pot of scum.

halved onion and ginger

beef bones

I’ve never made broth with this combination of spices before and I was so excited! The parboiled bones went into a fresh pot of water and were brought back to a boil. I placed the spices in a little mesh pouch and chucked those in with the ginger, onion, fish sauce, sugar, and salt.


my favorite brand of fish sauce (oddly enough, three crabs)

into the pot the onion goes

Jaden said for maximum flavor, simmer the broth for THREE hours. Yes, ma’am! It smelled like heaven. My house smelled like heaven. I wanted to swim in that aromatic broth, except it was scalding hot. Just before the broth was ready, I prepped the rest of the ingredients for the pho.

slicing half-thawed flank steak

the rice noodles i bought

Every time I have fresh basil, fresh mint, and fresh cilantro together, I think of my good friends, Todd and Diane over at White on Rice Couple because they introduced me to real Viet food. The dinner they served us last year puts a smile on my face whenever I think back to it. So Jaden’s recipe gave me the warm fuzzies.

fresh produce ready to serve

ladling the piping hot broth

I blanched my rice noodles in boiling water for a minute and then drained them. The hot broth is supposed to cook the beef, but Jeremy and I like our beef rare – REALLY rare, so I don’t let it cook too much. I added a little hoisin sauce and a generous squeeze of hot chili sauce and the soup was PERFECT. I am so very very happy to finally know how to make pho. Thank you, Jaden! Be sure to check out the rest of the Daring Cooks challenges.

out of this world amazing beef pho

Vietnamese Pho: Beef Noodle Soup
for the recipe, please visit Steamy Kitchen

61 nibbles at “daring cooks: vietnamese pho (beef)”

  1. Shoshanna says:

    Mmmmm…That looks really tasty!

  2. ravenouscouple says:

    Looks great and it’s the perfect time to make pho now that fall is fast approaching!

  3. Jenny says:

    That looks really tasty! I opted for the long chicken version (which I was disappointed with) but I need to give the beef version a go! Lovely photos!

  4. Mrs Ergül says:

    I am already droolingggggggg

  5. Amy I. says:

    Your soup looks beautiful, it’s jumping off the screen at me! I made the long chicken version, it was interesting to see the differences and similarities to the beef version you made.

  6. Minh says:

    The spices look beautiful! I love all of the bright vibrant colours in all of your photos, I also made the beef version and was also very happy with the results.

  7. Cate says:

    I love, love, LOVE pho! I made a quick version awhile ago and the house smelled pretty good. I can only imagine how awesome it smelled after three whole hours! Yum!

  8. bekah jones says:

    Oh, wow! I have ALWAYS wanted to make pho. We have spent time in Vietnam on several occasions and this is my favorite thing for breakfast. We are actually planning on spending a year there beginning next fall and whenever we talk about it with our kids, my 7 year-old son says, “Oh, goody! I am going to eat pho for breakfast every single day!”

    I’ve been intimidated by the recipes I’ve seen before. Most seem to say things like, “Start with a half a cow…” This looks very do-able.

    I’m curious about the parboiling of the beef. What is the reason for that?

    Can’t wait to try this one! Thanks!

  9. Phoo-D says:

    This was a fun challenge. Your pho turned out beautifully! We went the beef route too- although Oscar was very disappointed the bones I brought home were not for him!

  10. Kristin says:

    So beautiful!

  11. Jenn says:

    Great photos! Gorgeous as always :)

  12. Karen says:

    Beautiful photos Jen! Stunning!

  13. Rosa says:

    Great job! That Pho looks marvelous and so flavorful!



  14. Andrea Meyers says:

    Gorgeous! After making and loving the chicken pho, I’m anxious to try the beef pho. That looks perfectly delicious.

  15. Alice says:

    Your pho looks incredible!

  16. Lisa says:

    Ha, this is really incredible. I have to make it soon b/c last week we made one and it was nowhere near what you have in this one. We will try it next week b/c the rest of this week is booked.

  17. Melissa says:

    I already wanted pho today and now I’m craving it like an addict… sheesh.

  18. Simone (junglefrog) says:

    I seriously loved the chicken pho and now seeing your beef pho, that has got the best next thing we’re gonna make. It looks delicious!

  19. TheKitchenWitch says:

    My comfort food! Yummy!

  20. Jessica says:

    My family and I love pho, but we’ve never tried making it!

  21. Asha @ FSK says:

    Lovely pics!!

  22. Lisa says:

    I have made Jaden’s crock pot pho several times and if you think your house smells good after three hours of simmering, try all night.

  23. Carolyn Parker says:

    love your photos

  24. Lisa is Bossy says:

    I really wanna do the beef version too since that’s my fave! Once life gives me some more time… Beautifully done as usual, Jen! And thanks again for “reminding” me! :P

  25. rose says:

    I love the beef pho! We did the long version as well. I am so excited that we had this challenge :D Your photographs look gorgeous, as always!

  26. art and lemons says:

    Love the photo sequence. This recipe is a keeper!

  27. Christina says:

    This actually looks pretty simple once you deal with the broth step, and it sounds delicious and warm and tasty. The spice picture is awesome!

  28. sara says:

    Mmmm, this looks so good! Yum. :)

  29. chef_d says:

    wow wow wow!! stunning pictures!!

  30. Margaret says:

    How amazing does that look. Your photos are incredible.

  31. pigpigscorner says:

    oh wow, your soup looks great! Lovely pictures.

  32. Frenchie says:

    I wish I could have had your pho rather than mine. The pictures looks absolutely beautiful and it seems like your flavors really shone. Great job.

  33. dawn says:

    oh how I love pho. I love your knives too. Ceramic right? I heard many a good thing about them. Do they need sharpening?

  34. Jaden says:

    HELL YEAH!!!! Thank you for making the pho look so beautiful!

  35. Eat. Travel. Eat! says:

    These photos are AMAZING! You made the most pulchritudinous pho in the world in my opinion. The colors are so vibrant and everything looks so fresh. You make me want to make this at home now :).

  36. Asianmommy says:

    Great pictures! How do you make onions & ginger & spices look so pretty?

  37. Tartelette says:

    I could totally bathe in that myself! You can bet I’ll be making it soon :)

  38. maybelles mom says:

    It did smell lovely and yours looks lovely too. Swimmable indeed.

  39. Allie says:

    Pho is so good… it is the gift of the gods… and agreed – rare beef is better. This coming from a girl who wouldn’t touch anything that wasn’t fully grey and well done for 16 years. Oh how things have changed. Overcooked meat is just dry and pointless.

  40. Shoshanna says:

    I just wanted to say that your photographs of the beef Pho looked so good that I had Pho on my mind all night. So, at lunch today, I went to the Vietnamese cafe near my work and deviated from my standard “Lemon Grass Chicken” and ordered “Beef Pho” instead. It’s just what I needed on a wet and rainy day!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe from Jaden’s book; I will definitely have to give this recipe a try on the weekend! By the way, do you have any pointers when making this recipe?

  41. Broderick @ Savory Exposure says:

    OMG That looks so good!!

  42. Elaine says:

    you know whats the best meat to go into pho? BEEF TENDONS… MMMMMMMMM its so rich, its my grandma’s fave too

  43. laurisof says:

    Beautifull photos! I loved each and every one of them. I guess I’ll be making the beef version next time!

  44. Olive says:

    Gorgeous photos..that pho looks so delicious!

  45. Rhoda says:

    This is one of my favorite soups. But I’ve never had any idea how to make it. Thanks for sharing this one! I cannot wait to be making this soon!

  46. Woman with a Whisk says:

    Beautiful pictures! Your pho looks fantastic. I’m glad you enjoyed the beef version as much as I did.

  47. Valérie says:

    Beautiful job! I agree: the long beef version was the way to go!

  48. Katie says:

    Wow, that looks delicious! I love rice noodles and the beef just looks so tasty. It seems like it would be a nice comforting dinner on a cold night, so satisfying!

  49. Lindsey@pickyeatings says:

    Now I want Pho, and it’s not even 9am.

  50. Lauren says:

    This looks sooo good! Happy birthday to your dad =D.

  51. Loan says:


    You should really try the fresh pho noodles. Most of the asian markets in Denver carry the fresh pho noodles and the dry ones. Just wanted to let you know =) Cuz the fresh ones just need about a minute in the boiling water and your ready to go .

  52. Dia says:

    Loan beat me to it. As soon as I saw the dried noodle packet I shrieked, you have to use the fresh pho noodles/hydrated-vacuum packed pho noodles, you can taste the difference.

  53. Alexa says:

    I am in Vietnam now with my husband and we eat this everyday for breakfast, which is traditionally the way to go. I am excited to have a recipe to try when we get home.

  54. Lisa says:

    Jen, as always I spent several minutes just staring at each photo. I am drooling and I cannot wait to try Jaden’s beef version. Beautifully done in every way, shape and form. I could eat your beef raw! Wait, did that sound weird? lol

  55. jenyu says:

    Thanks for all of your sweet comments! I absolutely love this recipe. (Jaden, you rawk!)

    Bekah Jones – it’s to remove the scum from the bones. It reduces the final amount in the broth.

    Lisa is Bossy – what are friends for? :)

    Dawn – yes, that one is ceramic (kyocera) and it does require sharpening, but you have to send it to the company to do it. I’ve had mine for over 2 years and it’s still very sharp, but I baby the heck out of it :)

    Jaden – thank you for making the pho so delicious!! xxoo

    Asianmommy – it’s not me, babe – they make themselves pretty :)

    Shoshanna – I think if you just follow Jaden’s instructions, you’ll find yourself smiling with a steaming bowl of pho in your hands. It is soooo good.

    Elaine – I’ve had beef tendon soups before and they are REALLY good!

    Lauren – thank you, hon!

    Loan – yeah, I don’t shop in Denver often – it’s a long haul from the mountains. I’ve had fresh pho before, very good stuff.

  56. Grace says:

    Hi Jen (and Jaden): I tried this recipe for dinner last night. It was AWESOME. That broth was so delicious. I couldn’t find star anise in our local grocery stores, but I used about a tablespoon of anise seed and that seemed about right. We had guests and everyone raved about it. I will be making this again, I’m sure.

  57. carla cleary says:

    Thank you for all your hard work, and I was just looking for a recipe in my daring attempt to do rare beef pho at home… I am looking forward to it, plan to follow your posting!

  58. Chrystani says:

    Damn girl!
    This looks delicious… Idk if I want to slave over broth… *Siiigh*

    But for the spices for the broth, could you use five spice powder? if you don’t have all those individual spices?

  59. jenyu says:

    Chrystani – I’ve never used five spice powder. I’m not sure you’d get the same effect.

  60. Vietnamese Pho | Food Pixels Sydney says:

    […] I’m just gonna redirect you to either Jen’s or Jaden’s blog for the recipe; I followed it step by step and I’m totally satisfied […]

  61. essays says:

    Rambutans are best eaten fresh out of hand. You can also slice up the flesh and turn it into jams, ice creams, and sorbets. Doused in heavy syrup, they also make great toppings for cakes and pastries.

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