Saturday, March 5, 2011

Homemade Vietnamese Pho Broth

I regret that I didn't put more broth into my bowl above just for the photo. Perhaps the reason why I didn't was because the recipe I tried produced such small quantity for so much work involved and I didn't want to use all the broth in one eating. :p I started with six quarts of water and only got three quarts when I was done. The broth tasted good, but I was disappointed that it took so much work for such small results. I probably will not make pho broth from scratch again. I know I mentioned in my earlier posts the obvious reasons, but it's been at least ten years since I last made pho broth from scratch and wanted to see if I could improve. Just not worth the time or money. This recipe I tried was good, but it had too much salt to it (including the fish sauce). When I ate the pho, I didn't need to add any extra condiments except for the hot sauce. No fish sauce or hoisin. Nada. I wasn't used to that. It really didn't need it. I suppose that's a good thing, right? I guess not if someone doesn't like their pho to be on the salty side. Also, I skimmed the fat twice and it was still pretty greasy. I got tired of skimming it, so I quit at the second time. My broth came out darker than what I'm used to seeeing. I left the bag of spices in the whole time. I read from another recipe to take it out after 30 minutes. This recipe I tried did have a more intense flavor because the dried spices was simmered for at least four hours. Would I recommend this recipe? Yes. It was good. A lot better than some home made pho I have had before. I just wouldn't make this again because it was just too much work and ingredients. You can find the recipe from Andrea Nguyen. I also referenced Wandering Chopsticks and here.

Yellow rock sugar, star anise, whole cloves and cinnamon stick:

Charbroiling the onions and ginger in the oven under broil since I don't have open flame. Flavors are still there doing it this way:

Putting all the ingredients together in the pot. I used 2.5 lbs oxtails and the rest bones with marrow and tendon. I also put my spices in a pouch. You can use cheesecloth as well or use none at all. It's just easier to get them out later especially if you want the spices out earlier:

Make sure you submerge everything under water:

I skimmed the foam and and other impurities with this handy dandy tool that I found at the local Asian store. It works very good since the mesh is very fine:

After boiling for four hours and letting it cool, I put the pot in the fridge overnight and took out the fat that submerged to the top. I did this twice and it was still greasy. Seeing all this fat scared my husband, so he didn't even bother eating the pho I made for us. I told him this is how it's made and he doesn't believe me. He thinks pho broth just magically comes out clear.


  1. awe. great post. I can go for some pho right now =). thanks for sharing.

  2. I made clear broth by using mostly bone and less fatty meat. I only skimmed once and at most twice. I think the home made version has much better flavor than any restaurant. You can take the meat out after it is cooked, keep simmering the rest of the ingredients, and add the meat to the noodles later. I prefer the khao poon pho version instead of the Vietnamese pho, because it is spicier and no restaurant I've found has made it.