By Kevin • All, Meat, Soups • 15 Feb 2015


Pho is a dish I absolutely adore to the point where I pretty much need (not want, but need) it at least once a week. There’s a complexity of spice in the broth I don’t think is found in any other soup. That, balanced with the freshness of the raw beef, basil and bean sprouts makes it irresistible.

The key is the broth and making it in the slow cooker keeps it from boiling. This keeps the broth clear even without pre-boiling and rinsing the bones. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also put the broth ingredients in an oven-safe pot in the oven on low heat.

Time: Up to 24 hours

Serves: 4


2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
4 whole cloves
4 whole star anise
1 black cardamom pod
1 large onion – half cut in thick slices/half in thin slices
1 large piece ginger – halved horizontally
3 pounds beef bones
10 cups water
¼ cup fish sauce
4 ounces very thinly sliced lean beef
4 cups bean sprouts
4 stems Thai basil
1 lime – quartered


Place a pan on medium-low and add the cinnamon, coriander, fennel, cloves, anise, and cardamom. Stir often until just toasted (about two minutes). Remove the spices from the pan and place in a slow cooker.

Place the pan on medium high, adding the think onion slices and the ginger, flesh-side down. Turn the onion once, cooking until both sides of the onion and the flesh side of the ginger are lightly charred. Remove them from the pan and place them in the slow cooker.

Add the bones, water and fish sauce to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on the low setting for at least twelve or up to twenty-four hours.

Run the broth through a fine strainer and let cool, refrigerating until the fat solidifies on the surface. Discard the fat.

Reheat the broth on the stovetop. Place the beef and the thinly sliced onion in serving bowls and gently pour in the hot broth. Serve accompanied by a plate with the bean sprouts, basil and lime wedges.

Get the PDF and nutrition info

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.