At its core, pho is a beautiful amalgam of a golden fragrant beef broth, al dente rice noodles, and accent toppings.
Here are some notices to leverage your Pho
Bones: The majority of your bones should be long femur bones with plenty of marrow. Knuckle bones are often included and while they don’t have marrow, they contain cartilage that adds body to the broth so it’s a good idea to include them.
Rinse the bones in cold water and clean them of any loose particles and don’t forget to also clean the pot of any residue. It’s the most tedious part of making pho, but it is well worth your time. If you don’t par cook you’ll just have to spend a lot more time skimming the scum. And oh, we don’t pre-roast the bones.
Herbs: Like a great taco, the flavors and scent of pho is beautifully rounded out by a small squeeze of fresh lime. Plenty of finely chopped cilantro and green onions and fresh torn holy basil are also requisites for us.
Bean sprouts, either fresh or blanched, add a textural crunch and something we always add. Thinly sliced yellow onions and culantro or ngo gai is another great herb to add.
Aromatics: Dry toasting your spices definitely brings out the essential oils and makes a more flavorful and nuanced broth. Similarly, cooking and charring your onion and ginger will also bring out sweetness and wonderful aromas.
It’s important to not just char the surface but to also slightly cook and soften the inside of the onion and ginger to bring out a more nuanced flavor.