As with any other recipe, there are several variations for pho. The first recipe listed below is my own that has been adapted from various recipes that I have tried. Through trial and error, my recipe includes ingredients that I believe gives the broth an extra strong flavor and depth of flavor. However, I am still working on improving it so it will change from time to time. That is what is so great about cooking! See my pho blog for my experiments in seeking the perfect recipe.

People who have never tried pho may prefer a milder flavored broth and can use another recipe or modify it. One of the reasons I have inlcuded an ingredients page is to provide education on how each ingredient works to flavor pho. Hopefully, it will serve as a guide to help you tweak your recipe.

4 beef marrow bones
1 large onion
1 2-inch piece ginger
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 t fennel seeds
5 cardamom pods
8 cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
3 stalks lemongrass (optional)
1 bag of rice noodles
8 ounces raw beef sirloin (or similar), thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 package beef balls (optional)
1/2 cup chopped green scallions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fish sauce
salt and pepper

Thai basil
saw-leafed herbs
bean sprouts
lime wedges
Thai chilis

Grill onions (and lemongrass) and beef bones or the meats you are using. You can use an indoor grill or also put it in the oven or my easy method of pan frying it which works just as well. Place the onions and bones/meat in a pot and fill it to 2/3 full with water.

Add spice sachet which includes the spices you want to use: star anise, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and fennel seeds. (Note: breaking the cardamom pods before placing it in the sachet helps to release the flavor.)

Bring to boil, then simmer for 3-4 hours or longer. Skim frequently to remove residue.

While broth is simmering, prepare fresh ingredients. Wash bean sprouts and other garnishes such as saw-leaf herbs and basil leaves. Chop green onions and cilantro. Thinly slice one onion.

Remove brisket (if you used brisket) and slice it thinly. Remove spice sachet and discard.

Blanch rice noodles according to package (usually for 5-7 minutes).

Arrange soup bowl by placing a mound of rice noodles, brisket, green onions, cilantro and sliced onions in bowl. Also place several thinly sliced round beef in bowl. If you are using beef balls, cut them into thirds and warm them in boiling water or use some of the broth.

Arrange the basil leaves, bean sprouts, saw-leaf herbs, wedges of lime, and chilis on a small plate.

When broth is almost done, add fish sauce (more or less to your preference).

Pour boiling soup into bowl and serve. The boiling broth should cook the thinly sliced beef. Serve a bowl of pho with the accompaniments and a small dish of plum sauce and Sriracha. You may also serve extra fish sauce in case anyone prefers their broth a bit stronger.