Come winter, just about everyone can go for a big, steaming bowl of soup. If noodles are involved, even better. But chicken noodle soup and run-of the mill Chinese restaurant soups can get boring, fast. Enter pho (pronounced “fuh”): It’s a Vietnamese noodle soup that’s bursting with flavor, full of bright aromatics, chewy noodles, and any type of meat you desire. It’s unlike any other soup out there, and it can be made quickly and easily, right in your own home.
True pho, the kind you’ll find on the streets of Vietnam, is made with a broth that can take days to make. If you want to make an easier version at home, we suggest sticking to this recipe from The Kitchn. You can start with low-sodium beef stock and add in charred onions and ginger; toasted cinnamon sticks, anise, cloves and coriander; and soy sauce, fish sauce, and carrots. After simmering for 30 minutes, the broth will take on a complexity that will seem like it took a whole lot longer to achieve.
The rest is easy: Add thinly-sliced raw beef (sirloin, round eye, and London broil are preferable; put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice) and cooked rice noodles to a bowl, ladle in the strained hot stock (it’ll cook the beef), and top with any of a wide variety of traditional pho toppings, including scallions, sliced chiles, lime wedges, bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, mint, sriracha, and hoisin sauce. The end result will be an impressive, delicious, and deeply comforting soup that was surprisingly easy to make. If you’re looking to roll up your sleeves and make an authentic duck pho, you can find the recipe here.