Vietnamese knock back Pho the way Italians do expresso– swiftly, routinely

Pho is usually served in the morning. Pho is an herb-scattered fragrant noodle soup, a beefy cardamom-y delight keeps you full for hours.  It’s often paired with strong Vietnamese coffee served over sweet condensed milk.


I’m making Pho using Martha Stewart’s recipe.  Photo is courtesy of Ryan K. Liebe.


  • 4 pounds beef marrow or knuckle bones, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 pounds oxtail, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 2 1/2-pound piece beef brisket, rinsed and patted dry
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 6 whole star-anise pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 1/2 large onions, 2 halved lengthwise, 1/2 thinly sliced
  • 4 medium shallots
  • 1 4-inch piece fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, or a 1 1/2-inch piece yellow rock sugar (available at
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce, such as nuoc nam or nam pla
  • 1 12-ounce piece beef eye of round
  • 2 pounds rice stick noodles
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • Cilantro sprigs, preferably Vietnamese, for serving
  • Fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai, for serving
  • Bean sprouts, for serving
  • Thai bird or serrano chiles, thinly sliced, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Asian chili sauce, such as sambal oelek or Sriracha, for serving
  • Hoisin sauce, for serving


  1. Bring a large Dutch oven or stockpot of water to a boil. Add beef bones, oxtail, and brisket. Return to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Drain; return beef bones, oxtail, and brisket to pot.
  2. Toast cloves, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, coriander, and fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to pot.
  3. Heat broiler. Place onion halves, shallots, and ginger on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, until charred in spots, about 10 minutes. Transfer to pot.
  4. Add enough water to cover (about 8 quarts). Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; do not boil. Skim foam with a spoon, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a simmer.
  5. Simmer until broth is golden brown and liquid level has lowered about 2 inches, 6 to 8 hours. Transfer brisket to a dish; let cool, then cover brisket with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  6. Remove bones and oxtail; discard. Strain broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Stir in sugar and fish sauce. Refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 month.
  7. With a large spoon, remove most of hardened fat from surface of broth; discard. Bring broth to a simmer over medium-high heat.

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