Quick Epic Pho Soup

When I met my gorgeous hubby, he wasn’t much of a cook to say the least. It didn’t stop him from trying, but after making me a hot cucumber and tomato soup, I politely asked him to leave the cooking to me 🙂

But there was one recipe he was really good at. Making Pho soup!

The first time he made it for me, I declared that I expect him to make it again every month. It was that good! Now don’t get me wrong, neither one of us has any Vietnamese genes in us… But as the years went by, we worked on perfecting his recipe, not only making it more delicious, but also making it a bit quicker to make.

An original recipe calls for hours of cooking, and for a good reason. Making bone broth from scratch, roasting the spices, charing the onion and ginger, and cooking everything for hours makes a dish even more incredible to say the least! But not all of us have that time to spare. That doesn’t mean you can’t have homemade Pho, it just means that you can have a quicker and easier version at home.

So without further ado, here’s our recipe. Please check out the notes below for tweaks and more options. Also, don’t get scared by the amount of ingredients, many of them are optional but do add a lot!

Quick Epic Pho Soup
Servings: 6
Prep time: 10min
Active cooking time: 15min
Hands-free cooking time: 30min

Soup Ingredients:
– 10 cups bone broth* or veggie broth See notes
– 150g protein of choice per person (see step #1 or #6)
– 3-4 tbsp oil (ghee, avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil)
– 1 large onion, thinly sliced
– 1 thumb sized ginger, sliced
– 2 tbsp fish sauce (optional, we don’t use it)
– 4 large carrots, thinly sliced (we use a peeler to peel through the whole carrot)
– Dried mushrooms of choice, rehydrated with boiling water
– 4 large garlic cloves, quartered
– 2 star anise whole
– 10 whole cloves
– 250g bean sprouts
– 250g brown rice or buckwheat noodles
– sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh optional additions:
– Fresh cilantro leaves
– Fresh mint leaves
– Fresh chives or green onions
– Fresh Thai basil or regular basil
– Soy sauce/tamari sauce/coconut aminos
– Sambal Oelek/fresh chilli

*Bone broth adds a beautiful deep flavour to the Pho soup. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, or simply don’t want to use bone broth, feel free to use your choice of bouillon or stock.

1. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, rinse under cold tap water, and keep covered. Add a drizzle of olive oil to avoid sticking.
2. If using beef, pork or chicken strips as your protein, place your chosen meat on a plate, salt and pepper generously, and mix to evenly spread the spices, and move on to step #3. If you’re using fish or tofu, see step #6 for the next steps.

3. In a large pot (the same one the soup will end up in), heat up your oil of choice, and cook your meat in batches. Once cooked, remove and keep warm.

4. In the same pot, add your onion, gently sautéing until slightly golden. Towards the end of this step, add the ginger, garlic, star anise, and cloves. This helps the natural oils of the spices to develop. Alternatively you can place the ginger, garlic, anise and cloves in a cheese cloth or tea bag, and tie it up, so that you don’t have the spices in the soup itself (if you do this, you can add the spices in the next step).
5. Add the broth or stock of choice, fish sauce, mushrooms (including soaking liquid), and carrots, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the cooked meat, and bring down to a simmer. If you chose to put the spices in a tea bag or cheese cloth, you can now add that into the broth as well. Let simmer for at least 30min to allow flavours to develop. The longer you do this, the better the soup will turn out 🙂

6. Tofu or fish – in a separate pan, heat up your choice of oil. Salt and pepper your protein of choice. You can also add other flavours here such as soy/tamari/coconut aminos, ground ginger, lime juice etc. Once the pan is hot, add your choice of protein, and fry for a few minutes on each side until nice and golden. Once cooked, remove and keep warm.

7. Add bean sprouts to soup. Wash the fresh herbs, and cut the lime into wedges.

8. Time to serve! First, put a small portion of noodles in a soup bowl. Next, ladle the soup on top. If your proteins aren’t already in the soup, place them on top now. Add your choice of fresh herbs, a fresh squeeze of lime juice, and any additional options of choice. My personal favourite is Sambal Oelek, loads of fresh herbs, and a touch of coconut aminos.

9. Enjoy!

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