Beef noodle soup

Beef noodle soup

Michael Fountoulakis

No one is quite sure of the origins of pho, but it is well and truly Vietnamese comfort food. Pho is a well-balanced meal with plenty of broth to ward off dehydration in the hot and humid summer months and to warm the body and soul in the cool and drizzly winters.

Hanoians like to slurp the noodles first to prevent them becoming soft and mushy from sitting in the broth for too long. This dish is intended to be served on its own rather than as part of a banquet.



Quantity Ingredient
2kg beef bones
2 brown onions, cut in half
1 knob ginger, cut into chunks
1 pig’s trotter
1 teaspoon salt
500g beef brisket
1 star anise
4cm piece of cassia bark
or 1 cinnamon stick

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
200g scotch fillet, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
600g fresh pho noodles
4 red asian shallots, finely sliced
4 spring onions, half sliced in long strips and half sliced into rings


Quantity Ingredient
1 lemon, cut in half or into wedges
1 long red chilli, sliced
1 handful coriander leaves
1 handful thai basil leaves
fish sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the beef bones on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the bones over and roast for a further 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a grill or barbecue to medium–high heat. Grill the onion and ginger on all sides until charred lines appear.
  3. Remove the bones from the oven and place in a large stockpot. Add the pig’s trotter and the salt and cover with cold water. Slowly bring to simmering point, removing scum as it comes to the surface. Add the onion, ginger, brisket, star anise and cassia bark (or cinnamon stick) and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the brisket and set aside. Continue to simmer the stock for a further 4 hours. Strain the stock and discard the bones, vegetables and spices.
  4. Marinate the scotch fillet in the fish sauce and set aside for 30 minutes. Thinly slice the brisket across the grain. Bring the broth back to simmering point.
  5. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Drop the noodles into the boiling water for about 20 seconds, stirring with a chopstick to separate them. Drain thoroughly and divide evenly between 6 bowls.
  6. Place the brisket, sliced fillet, shallots and spring onions on top of the noodles. Ladle in the hot broth and encourage diners to generously add lemon juice, chilli, herbs and fish sauce.
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