A very popular dish in Vietnam is their Vietnamese Phó soup. It is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner in most hotels and restaurants and is possibly one of the most common dishes you will come across.
They serve it with either chicken, beef, vegetable and sometimes even seafood- my favourite was the beef phó.
Despite tasting amazing, this soup is just so good for you! It was probably my favourite dish in Vietnam- although you must check if the broth is made fresh because some places just serve a packet version which does not taste as nice and definitely doesn’t have the health benefits. The phó broth uses beef/chicken bones boiled over many hours which allows the collagen and minerals from the bone to release into the liquid broth, so when you consume the broth all these good minerals enter your body- call it the ultimate hangover or illness cure. These certain minerals are not found in other foods and are not absorbed as readily in capsule form so if your over indulging in the phó soup this may not be such a bad thing!
Street phó is often the better way to go.
Seasonings vary, most commonly you can add bean sprouts, shredded greens, mint, coriander, chilli, lime juice and other herbs and I find it to taste a lot more flavoursome if you garnish it with a bit of fish sauce and soy sauce.
My recipe takes reasonably long if you want to reap the health benefits from the bones, but it can also be as quick as you want it to take. It does taste a lot better if left to simmer for longer, but I had it after 2 hours and it was still nice.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- Beef soup bones (approximately 3-4)
- 2 green onions
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 thumb of ginger, sliced
- 3 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp pepper corns
- Fresh mint
- Fresh coriander
- Bean sprouts
- Shredded Asian greens / Bok choy
- Chilli, diced
- Fish sauce / soy sauce
- Lime, juiced
- Thick rice noodles, cooked
- Boil the beef bones for 10 minutes until impurities have surfaced. Rinse the pot and the bones and set aside.
- Lightly char the onion, garlic and ginger in a non-stick pan, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the star anise, cinnamon and peppercorns to the pan and char until pepper corns begin to pop or slightly darker in colour.
- Throw all ingredients into a large pot including the beef bones and cover with water by approximately 5cm. The water will evaporate over time so make sure there is plenty in there.
- Simmer for at least 2 hours (longer the better) up to 10 hours for maximum flavour and health benefits simmer longer.
- Drain the ingredients and collect the liquid- this is the broth.
- Compose a bowl with noodles, bean sprouts, greens, chilli, herbs. Pour the broth over top and then add sauces and lime juice to taste.
Many people boil a brisket in the pot for 2 hours which significantly enhances the flavour and then remove and slice it up to serve in the bowl- but I was too lazy and it tastes okay without. Enjoy!