I LOVE making this pho soup! And my family loves to eat it!
We eat it with noodles or rice. It is absolutely delicious, warming, hearty, rich and comforting.
It’s quite easy to make too, especially when I use a slow cooker.
In authentic pho, you’re supposed to use beef bones and pre-boil them. But I like to use lamb shanks for my soups, because they are easy to buy, they are a cheap cut, I love the softness and taste of lamb, and there is no “cooked blood” mess to clean up. Plus I don’t have to pre-boil them, which reduces the prep time.
In authentic pho, you’re also supposed to char or grill the onion and ginger. I’ve made the soup without charring, and it tastes just fine, so it depends on how much time you have (or how lazy you are).
Sometimes I make this soup and just serve it over brown rice, spinach, broccoli, thinly sliced carrots, cabbage and cucumber… because I can’t be bothered buying rice noodles + sprouts + mint + coriander to make proper pho.
This is my version, which was created from a mishmash of 3 online recipes, but I tweaked them to make it easier for me.
I tend to throw everything together in my slow cooker in the morning and dinner is ready 7-8 hours later!
Broth Ingredients –
4 lamb shanks on the bone
2 medium onion
1 piece of ginger (10cm)
2 garlic cloves, bruised
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1 whole star anise
1 large cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of fish sauce (I don’t like fish sauce so I use soy sauce instead)
1L of beef stock
5L of hot water
500g of rice noodles
2 spring onions
150g of bean sprouts
bunch of coriander
bunch of mint leaves
soy or fish sauce
Char the onion and ginger over a naked flame or pop them under the grill for 15 minutes (turning regularly). I usually pop them under the grill while I gather the rest of the ingredients.
Roughly chop the onion and ginger and throw into the slow cooker. Add garlic, coriander seeds, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
Add lamb shanks to the pan and stir them around a bit to coat with the spices.
Add 1L of beef stock and 5L of hot water. Set on low and forget for 7 hours!
After 7 hours: Turn off slow cooker and let it rest/cool for 30 minutes while you prepare the noodles, garnish and slice vegetables.
Skim off the fat from the soup. Carefully lift out lamb shanks and meat. Shred the meat and keep warm.
Strain all the onions, ginger, garlic, spices from the soup and discard. I just use a fine metal sieve and scoop everything out.
To serve: Reheat the soup. Taste the soup and adjust flavour with more soy or fish sauce. Arrange noodles, meat, mint, coriander, sprouts and spring onions in large bowls, and then pour hot soup on top.
(In the photo above, I bought 300g of beef fillet steak, sliced it thinly, put on top of the noodles (still raw) and poured the hot soup over the top).