Makes 8

Broth

2 medium yellow onions
4cm knob old ginger
3kg beef soup bones
1⁄2kg beef brisket
8 star anise, toasted
6 whole cloves, toasted
2 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
2 pcs black cardamom
6-8 L water
30-50 g yellow rock sugar
Sea salt, to taste
Fish sauce, to taste

Garnishes
  • 600g Dried flat rice noodles (Banh Pho), soaked in cold water for 40 minutes, drain
  • 500g sirloin, fillet or rump, thinly sliced
  • 1 white onion, sliced paper-thin, soaked in ice water for 15 minutes, drain
  • 8 Spring onions, chopped
  • Handful sweet basil leaves
  • Handful sawtooth coriander, chopped
  • 4 limes, cut into wedges
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
Prepare the pho broth
  1. Chargrill the onion and ginger over gas burner until fragrant.
  2. Halve the ginger lengthwise and bruise lightly. Set the onion and ginger aside.
  3. Parboil bones. Place bones in stockpot and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring to boil. Boilvigorously for 2 to 3 minutes to allow impurities to be released. Dump bones and water into sink and rinse bones with cold water. Quickly scrub and clean stockpot. Return bones to pot and add water.
  4. Bring to boil. Use ladle to skim away any scum that rises to the surface. Add remaining brothingredients and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. Brisket meat should be slightly chewy but not tough. When it is cooked to your liking, remove it and place in bowl of cold water for 10 minutes; this prevents the meat from drying up and turning dark as it cools. Drain and slice the brisket, and refrigerate. Allow broth to continue cooking for 3 hours. Strain the pho broth through fine strainer and discard the solids. Taste and adjust flavour with additional salt, fish sauce and yellow rock sugar.
Assemble the pho bowls
  1. If using dried noodles, cover them with cold water and let soak for 40 minutes. Drain in a colander.
    Blanch the noodle in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Divide the noodles among eight bowls.
  2. Top each bowl of noodles with brisket and sliced raw beef. Place a mound of white onion, spring onion,
    and chopped herbs.
  3. Raise the heat and bring the broth to a rolling boil. Ladle the broth into each bowl. Serve immediately
    with lime wedges and black pepper.
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Excerpts from the Passport to Saigon: The essential guide to Saigon’s Street Food Secrets by NamNam