FOR THE BROTH:
- 2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound total)
- 4-inch piece ginger (about 4 ounces)
- 5 to 6 pounds beef soup bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
- 5 star anise (40 star points total)
- 6 whole cloves garlic
- 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 piece of beef chuck, rump brisket or cross rib roast, cut into 2-x-4 inch pieces (weight after trimming)
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 ounce (1-inch chunk) yellow rock
- 2 tablespoons sugar
FOR THE BOWLS:
- ½ to 2 pounds small (⅛-inch wide)
- dried or fresh banh pho noodles (rice noodles)
- ½ pound raw eye of round, sirloin, thinly sliced across the grain
- (⅟₁₆ – inch thick; freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced paper thin, left to soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water
- 3 or 4 scallions, green part only, cut into thin rings
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- ground black pepper
- springs of spearmint, Asian/Thai basil,
- cilantro, bean sprouts, red hot chilies,
- lime wedges
Prepare the pho broth
- Char onion and ginger. Use an open flame on grill or gas stove. Place onions and ginger on cooking grate and let skin burn. After about 15 minutes, they will soften and become sweetly fragrant. Occasionally rotate them and discard any flyaway onions skin. You do not have to blacken entire surface, just enough to slightly cook onion and ginger. Let cool.
- Remove charred onion skin; trim and discard blackened parts of root or stem ends. Use a sharp paring knife to remove skin of ginger, rinse under warm water to wash off blackened bits. Set aside.
- Parboil beef bones. Place bones in stockpot and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring to boil. Boil vigorously 2 to 3 minutes to allow impurities to be released. Dump bones and water into sink and rinse bones with warm water.
- Add 6 quarts water to pot, bring to boil over high heat, then lower flame to gently simmer. Use ladle to skim any scum that rises to surface. Add remaining broth ingredients and cook, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours.
- When the meat 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 the meat; cool, then refrigerate. Allow broth to continue cooking; in total, the broth should simmer 3 hours.
- Strain the pho broth through a fine strainer. Taste and adjust flavor with additional salt, fish sauce and yellow sugar.
Assemble pho bowls
- Thinly slice cooked meat and raw sirloin. For best results, make sure it’s cold so it is easy to slice.
- Heat the pho broth and ready the noodles. To ensure good timing, reheat broth over medium flame until noodles are ready.
- Blanch noodles. Fills a 3-or 4-quart saucepan with water and bring to a boil. For each bowl, use a long-handle strainer to blanch a portion of noodles. As soon as noodles have collapsed and lost their stiffness, noodles are ready.
- Add ingredients in your bowl. Ladle in broth, put the garnishes and serve. Make sure to serve with hoisin and Vietnamese hot sauce for taste variations.