Pimp your noodles: Brilliant beef pho

Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, this herb-topped classic can be tweaked according to your tastes – try adding fresh chilli and lime juice.

beef pho
Andrew Hayes-Watkins

TAKES 40 minutes

1 litre beef stock
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced (no need to peel)
2 star anise
2 tsp coriander seeds
5 black peppercorns
150g dried flat ribbon noodles
1 small fillet or rump steak, trimmed of fat
1 1⁄2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar (palm if you have it)
2 handfuls of soft herbs – a mixture of coriander, mint and Thai basil

  1. Put the stock, onion, ginger, star anise, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a lidded saucepan. Place over a very low heat so the stock infuses as it comes to the boil – this might take up to 20 minutes. Once the broth is boiling, pop the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the noodles following the packet instructions, cool and drain.
  3. Put the steak in the freezer for 15 minutes to help firm it up, then slice as thinly as possible with your sharpest knife. Divide between two big bowls with the drained noodles.
  4. Strain the broth into a jug – you want 600ml–700ml for two servings. If there’s not enough, top up with boiling water; too much, boil to reduce a little. Then use the soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar to season – it may need a splash more saltiness or a pinch more sweetness according to how you like it.
  5. Pour between the bowls – the heat from the broth will cook the beef. Serve scattered with the herbs.

TIP For broths and soups, noodles will continue to soften as they hang around in the broth, so it’s important not to overcook them to start with.

Now buy the book!

Pimp Your Noodles
Our recipes are from Pimp Your Noodles by Sarah Cook, which is published by Seven Dials, price £9.99. To order a copy for £8.49 until 7 March, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free p&p on orders over £15.