I’ve had a bit of a love affair with Pho (pronounced fuh) ever since I had my first slurp of this beef noodle soup many, many years ago. There is something about a big steamy bowl of broth, noodles, crunchy bean sprouts and fresh herbs that not only tastes so good, but makes you feel so good, especially during winter months. It’s definitely a soup that eats like an entire meal!
Luckily, living in Toronto, there are lots of places to go (I’m talking to you, Spadina Road) when you need a Pho fix. There are sometimes days, however, when you are feeling lazy, or sick, or just want to cocoon inside. Those days, I make my faux Pho. Why is it faux? Well, for one thing, I’m not boiling down bones for several hours to make stock. Nope, I’m doctoring up some beef broth. For another, I’m not using sliced raw beef, I’m rebooting another dinner’s leftover beef roast (or you can even use deli sliced rare roast beef). Easy peasy.
If you are celiac, or following a gluten-free or reduced diet, you will want to PIN this recipe. Rice noodles are gluten-free (just use tamari instead of the soy sauce).
The beef stock really does appreciate the little bit of time you take to add some spices and a bit of a simmer. This can be done while you cook your noodles and prep your veggies. Shoutout to The Kitchn, this was the base for my modified recipe.
Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 30 minutes; Serves: 1
What you need:
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced into quarters throught the root
- 1″ chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half
- 1/2 whole cinnamon stick
- 1 – 2 star anise, whole (I use 2 as I like the star anise flavour in the broth)
- 2 cloves (whole)
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 tsp soy sauce (tamari if you would like it gluten-free)
- 1 tsp fish sauce (I did not use)
- 2 – 4 oz leftover roast beef, thinly sliced (you can also use rare roast beef from the deli)
- 2 ounces dried rice noodles (I used President’s Choice Rice Stick Noodles, about 1/4 of the bag
- 1 green onion, sliced, green and white parts
- 1 Thai chili pepper (you can omit if you don’t like spice)
- 2 lime wedges
- 1/4 cup bean sprouts (use more if you like them)
- fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, mint – pick and chose your favs)
- chili hot sauce, Sriracha, or hoisin sauce (to taste)
What you do:
- Place the quartered onions and halved ginger on a rack.
- Place under the broiler approximately 5 – 8 minutes each side. [You can also char them over your gas flame, using tongs, if you have a gas stove.]
- While the onion and ginger are broiling, place the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel and coriander seeds in the bottom of your soup pot and dry-roast over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until toasty and very fragrant. Stir frequently to prevent the spices from scorching.
- Add the charred onions and ginger to the soup pot
- Add the broth, soy sauce, fish sauce (optional), to the soup pot.
- Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and continue simmering for 30 minutes. You want to give this time for all the flavours to infuse in the broth.
- Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions (typically 1 minute for very thin noodles and up to 4 minutes for wider noodles – mine were 3-4 minutes sitting in the boiling water).
- Strain the noodles (run them under cool water to stop cooking). Add to your bowl (Note: the noodles will start to stick together after cooking, don’t worry, they will loosen up when you add the broth).
- Add your thinly sliced beef on top of your noodles
- Strain the broth into your bowl (I like to crank my broth up to a boil right before I strain it).
- Add your bean sprouts, herbs, sliced chili
- Squeeze in your lime wedges and give it a good stir
- Faux Pho!
- Great for a cold day!
- Faux Pho for One!