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Best Winter Soups: Vietnamese Pho

Best Winter Soups: Vietnamese Pho

There’s been some unusual activity lately happening in the south and it involves…..snow.

And yes, only 2 people in the state of Georgia actually know how to drive in it. Myself, and Joe up the street who’s from New York. We are completely unprepared for the likes of that white stuff and my years of driving in the said “stuff” come only from living in the Garden State for three years. What a lot of people don’t understand though, is that on top of the inexperience of the drivers here, we also don’t have the things used commonly up north for such uncommon events down here. Salt, shovels, and snow tires. Check (sea salt, right?), uncheck on shovels, and uncheck on snow tires.

Last week was different to say the very least and put most people off their game in every way. Not only did bridges and roads close, but pretty much everything closed down for at least two days. So, I actually did get to make this awesome soup last week, but only after the asian market opened back up and everything was back to semi-normal.

Since I’m doing two soups for every stock I decided to go with Pho for my second choice because a reader asked about it in my beef stock post. I told her in my reply back that Pho was typically made with beef stock full of aromatics such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and cardamom, as well as ginger and onion. After these aromatics are simmered in the beef stock it is then poured over cooked rice noodles and thinly sliced sirloin, and topped with fresh herbs, bean sprouts and whatever else tickles your fancy. In the following recipe I took my already made beef stock and added all my aromatics (that I wrapped in cheesecloth) and simmered it on the stove top for 2 hours. This allows the oils from the spices to seep out and penetrate the stock adding a depth of flavor. At the end of the simmer process I removed the cheesecloth and poured over my rice noodles and beef.

Vietnamese Chefchic Phopho stock lilchefchic

8 cups beef stock (If using store bought, grab one with good ingredients and little to no sodium

2″ piece of ginger, sliced into 4 pieces

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

3 star anise

1 teaspoon peppercorns

soy sauce to taste (start with 2 tablespoons)

6-8 oz sirloin steak, thinly thinly sliced against the grain


Toppers:shun knife steak lilchefchic

Cilantro, chopped

Mint, thinly sliced

Red chile peper, thinly sliced

Green Onion, thinly sliced

Bean sprouts

Sweet Onion, thinly sliced


Sauces:steak ricenoodles pho lilchefchic


Fish Sauce

Chile Pepper Sauce




In a large pot add stock and aromatics (ginger, cloves, cinnamon, anise, and peppercorns) that have been wrapped in cheesecloth and let simmer. Slice the sirloin steak into thin strips making sure to cut against the grain for optimum tenderness. In a separate pot (about 30 minutes before broth is completed) cook rice noodles following package directions and leave in colander on side until needed. Cook broth for 2 hours until infused, up to 4 hours based on the flavor you’re going for. Remove cheesecloth bundle and add in soy sauce 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired taste. Add some sea salt if necessary if bland. Bowl up noodles in serving dishes and place a serving of thinly sliced steak in each. Ladle the hot soup over the beef and noodles to cover (and cook the steak). Top with desired vegetation such as chopped cilantro, thinly sliced mint, sweet onion, lime wedges, green onion, and bean sprouts (if using) and serve with condiments (sauces) listed above on the side for guests to choose from.

Serve it up and slurp it up!pho bowl herbs lilchefchic

This soup was so good and had so much depth. All the add on’s at the end gave it freshness and made every mouthful bright. The toppings are personalized for each bowl which makes it even more fun for your guests or family members because each bowl will taste different and unique based on that persons desires.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

10 thoughts on “Best Winter Soups: Vietnamese Pho”

  • I can’t imagine what you are going through with all that snow.
    I am a soup lover and alike this recipe. It seems like with this weather, the soup season started.
    I would like to add carrots to it. What do you think?

    • Hi Dira! Carrot it up! It’s whatever you want really. People sometimes add thinly sliced radish or other veggies they prefer. The world is your oyster…or carrot!:) Thanks for leaving a comment!

  • Wow, this sounds pretty good, especially with all the aromatic spices simmering in the stock. I am vegan so I could see substituting the beef stock for vegetable stock, sirloin for Gardein vegan beef tips, and eliminate the fish sauce. I’m going to have to try this out and see how it goes.

    Thanks for the idea!


    • Hi Donovan! Ohhhh yeaaaah. Second vegan to comment on one of my soups and vegan-ize it. lol. Great ideas! Thanks so much for the comment:)

  • This looks absolutely delicious. My husband and I usually go to Chinatown in Chicago to get our Vietnamese Pho. I had no idea that you can make this at home. I love all the ingredients you have for this recipe. I am not very good at cooking. Although I am good at making salad, but I don’t think that is real cooking. Anyways, the recipe and the steps are so easy to follow. I am going to bookmark this page. We will be making our first Vietnamese Pho at home this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am looking forward to more recipes.

    • A salad can be transformed into a beautiful meal Hong. Of course it’s cooking:)! Especially when the main ingredient is loooove:) Thank you so much for checking out my site and commenting on the recipe. Please, please return and let me know how it turns out!

  • Wow! I seriously crave these kinds of soups. When I lived in London there were some fab Vietnamese and Thai cafe’s where I could just grab a great soup to go an my way home from a long day in work and then curl up with a bowl of something so comforting. Now, I live in a small town and I often crave a soup like this but have nowhere to go! Looking at the ingredient list, I pretty much have all of it in my cupboard, even the fish sauce. I am book-marking this page as my go-to for when I need a spicy but comforting pick-me-up. Thank you 🙂

    • Oh, London sounds wonderful Alison! You’re making ME want some soup now. lol. I hope you like it. Pho is delicious and so is this recipe.;)

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