Rich and comforting beef pho soup

Jun 16, 2021
This delicious beef pho soup can be prepared the night before for an enhanced flavour. Source: Getty Images

I enjoy a good Vietnamese pho. It’s a beautifully flavour-filled dish with broth, rice noodles, herbs and meat. It’s very popular in Vietnam, where you’ll find it being served in at street stalls and restaurants.

As we can’t travel too far from home at the moment, I thought, ‘why not try making this dish at home?’ Someone once told me that the secret to a good Vietnamese pho is to make the broth the night before. It’ll give you an enhanced flavour and make your dish all the more delicious. I would heed such advice when making this recipe.

What I love about this dish is how it can warm the soul on a cold winter’s night, but it’s still light and fresh enough to be enjoyed during the warmer months of the year too.

Serves 4


  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 10 cloves
  • 3L water
  • 400g gravy beef
  • 7cm piece fresh ginger, halved
  • 1/2 brown onion, unpeeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled, lightly crushed
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g packet fresh thin rice noodles
  • 240g beef eye fillet, thinly sliced
  • 130g bean sprouts, trimmed


  1. Place star anise, cinnamon, fennel, peppercorns, cardamom and cloves in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, shaking pan often, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.
  2. Place water and gravy beef in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Use a metal spoon to skim scum that rises to the surface. Add star anise mixture, ginger, onion and garlic. Reduce heat to low and simmer, skimming surface occasionally, for 3 hours or until reduced by half. Remove gravy beef. Shred and set aside.
  3. Add fish sauce, sugar and salt to beef stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the beef stock through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Discard solids.
  4. Place noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes to soften. Stir with a fork to separate. Drain and divide among bowls. Top with shredded beef.
  5. Place stock over high heat and bring to boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Divide stock among bowls. Top with slices of beef eye fillet and bean sprouts.

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