Monday, October 12, 2009

Faux Pho... Part 1 of a Vietnamese Feast for My Dad's Birthday

My dad and sister recently traveled back to Vietnam for the trip of a lifetime. You can read about it in my dad's blog, Back2Vietnam, found at

Ever since they returned, they have been raving about the food. So for my dad's birthday we decided to cook him a Vietnamese dinner.

The first course had to be Pho, his favorite food in Vietnam. My friend Quyen gave me her mother's recipe and it looks amazing, but I just didn't have the time for it. I will definitely be trying it sometime soon! So instead, I went in search of an easy Pho recipe. I found
this recipe for easy beef pho, and after showing it to my sister, we decided it had the right flavors and ingredients to satisfy our dad's Pho craving!

The Menu

Easy beef pho, or what we all named it, faux pho

Vietnamese spring rolls with chicken and shrimp; dipping sauce (post to follow soon)

Marinated pork chops, stir fried spicy broccolini (posts to follow soon)

I made a few minor changes to the Pho recipe; my version is below.


  • 12 cups beef broth
  • 4 limes (3 for soup, 1 for serving)
  • 14 oz rice sticks
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 1 pound beef sirloin


  • Bring beef broth to a boil in a large stock pot with the juice of 3 of the limes. Let stock boil for 15 minutes, then turn to a simmer for an hour so it reduces a bit for richer flavors.
  • In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and cook rice sticks according to package directions. Drain rice sticks.
  • While noodles are cooking and stock is heating, prep the condiments. Slice green onions on a long diagonal. Roughly chop cilantro. Rinse basil, dry, and put on platter for service. Slice remaining limes and arrange next to basil on serving platter. Thinly slice jalapenos and arrange on serving platter.
  • Season the beef with salt and pepper and grill to medium or medium rare. Slice beef into a thin a slice as possible with a very sharp knife.
  • When noodles are cooked and drained, divide among six bowls. Ladle hot stock over each bowl of noodles. I then let everyone choose their own condiments to complete their soup.

This was my first experience eating Pho, and now I know why my dad and sister raved about it! It was delicious! I never knew that cilantro, lime, and chilies were used in Vietnamese cooking. All of the ingredients are so light and fresh, and we had fun slurping the noodles. My sister told us that a good slurp is a way of complimenting the chef.

The best part about this meal was making it for my dad, and watching his reaction to seeing the food being brought out to him in the dining room. He looked like a kid on Christmas :)

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1 comment:

  1. Pho is served all day in Vietnam, we had it at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mary Ellen's attempt was successful at duplicating Pho. It was very close to the Beef Pho we had. Looking forward to her attempt at Pho Ga or Chicken Pho. In Vietnam, it is served from huge steaming pots. The flavors blended well and I appreciate all the work Nary Ellen did especially after returning form a cross country business trip the nigght before. And yes, I thank Stacy for he help in getting this together, as well !!!