Picking your Pho Protein.
You can use Steak, Chicken, Pork, or Shrimp in your pho. Even Tou Fu if you like.
If you choose to use steak it will need to be super-thinly sliced in order to cook quickly in the broth. To do this, I recommend popping the protein in the freezer for about 45-60 minutes, then slicing it against the grain as thinly as possible.
If you are going to use Shrimp, Chicken or Pork, I would recommend precooking the protein before adding it to the broth. Shrimp you can add whole, chicken and pork, slice thinly.
Picking your Pho Noodles.
Traditional pho is made with thin rice noodles. In order to prevent the noodles from overcooking in the broth, it’s traditional to cook pho noodles separately on their own. Then the noodles will be added to each individual serving bowl, and the protein, hot broth and toppings will be added on top of the noodles.
If you can’t get a rice noodle, we will substitute it with a soba noodle (soba noodles are made from 100% buckwheat flour) or a whole wheat spaghetti noodle.
Making your Pho Broth
You will need to get your preferred bone broth, vegetable, or mushroom stock as your base.
Add the Pho Sachet and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. If you have fish sauce, a little splash adds an authentic flavor to the broth. You can season the broth with sea salt to taste.
Pick Your Pho-vorite Toppings
Toppings, toppings, toppings: This is one soup recipe where the toppings are not optional — they’re the stars of the soup! Feel free to pick and choose your favorites, but I recommend at least one from each category:
Fresh herbs: The more the merrier! I recommend a combo of fresh cilantro, fresh mint and fresh Thai basil (or Italian basil, in a pinch).
Bean sprouts: You can find these in the produce section of your grocery store, or they are always available in Asian groceries. Fresh is the best, but the canned bean sprouts are delicious too!
Lime wedges: Essential for brightening up the flavors of the broth.
Chiles (optional): Either sliced Thai bird chiles, jalapeños, or serrano peppers are optional if you would like to add some heat.
Mushrooms: Enoki mushrooms are fantastic with Pho, but don’t hesitate trying a variety of different mushrooms including Shitaki or simple button caps.
Onions (optional): Either sliced green onions or very-thinly-sliced white onions as a garnish.
Sauces (optional): It’s also traditional to serve pho with hoisin sauce and/or sriracha, to use as a garnish if desired.
Assemble your Pho Bowl
Here is the basic overview for how to make homemade pho bowls! Once everything is ready to go, add a handful of noodles to each individual serving bowl, topped with your desired protein. Then ladle the simmering hot broth into the serving bowls, being sure to submerge the meat so that it will get cooked. Top with lots and lots of garnishes and a lime wedge.
Serve hot, encouraging everyone to stir the garnishes into the soup so that they can flavor the broth, also adding in additional extra sauces if desired. We like to do half a table spoon of the hoisen and siracha on a spoon to stir in.