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TV chef Thomas Joseph traveled to Vietnam to study pho, the country's traditional noodle soup; he came back with this authentic recipe. Martha made this recipe on Cooking School episode 304.

  • Servings: 10

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 6112


For the Broth

  • 4 pounds marrow or knuckle bones, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 pounds oxtail, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef brisket, rinsed and patted dry
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 6 pieces star anise
  • 2 sticks Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 (4-inch) piece ginger, halved lengthwise
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 shallots
  • 1/3 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece yellow rock sugar

For Serving

  • 1 (16-ounce) package pho rice noodles
  • 1/2 onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces eye of the round, frozen until firm and thinly sliced
  • Vietnamese cilantro, for serving
  • Thai basil, for serving
  • Bean sprouts, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Thai bird's eye chiles, thinly sliced, for serving
  • Chile sauce, such as Sambal, for serving
  • Hoisin sauce, for serving


  1. Make the broth: Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add bones, oxtail, and brisket to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and return to stockpot.

  2. Meanwhile, place cloves, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds in a medium skillet and toast over medium high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer spices to a plate to cool; set aside.

  3. Preheat broiler. Place onions, shallots, and ginger on a baking sheet and place under broiler until blistered and charred. Alternatively, using tongs, hold onions, shallots, and ginger individually over an open flame; transfer onions, shallots, ginger, and spices to stockpot with bones and meat.

  4. Add enough water to stockpot to cover bones, meat, onions, shallots, and ginger (32 to 40 cups). Place stockpot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Let simmer 6 to 8 hours, skimming impurities from the top as necessary.

  5. Remove brisket from stockpot and transfer to refrigerator; chill until firm before thinly slicing. Remove bones, oxtail, and large pieces of onions and ginger from stockpot and discard. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth; discard solids. Stir in fish sauce and yellow rock sugar. Skim any remaining fat from surface (refrigerating broth overnight will make this easier) and discard.

  6. To serve: Place noodles in a large bowl and add enough water to cover; let soak 30 minutes and drain.

  7. Bring broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat; add soaked noodles and cook, swishing noodles to release starch and prevent clumping. Immediately divide noodles evenly between 8 to 10 serving bowls. Top with sliced onions, scallions, and eye of the round and brisket sliced. Ladle over hot broth and serve immediately with cilantro, Thai basil, lime wedges, bean sprouts, chile, chile sauce, and hoisin sauce.

Reviews Add a comment

  • lmcgunigal2240608
    13 MAR, 2017
    I have followed the recipe exactly but my final broth product is bland without much of the wonderful scents that have permeated my home for the past few days. What can I add to make the broth more flavorful at this late stage?
  • ooopearlsooo
    7 SEP, 2016
    wow, what a great presentation from thomas joseph. he was very knowledgeable and showed much respect for the culture by taking the time to research everything. he made it look so simple. i'm definitely going to be trying this recipe soon when it starts to get colder and i'm need for a warm bowl of comfort. yum!
  • phofanatic
    9 MAR, 2015
    Thank you. This recipe has the perfect amount of spice one needs for Pho. I have tried many recipes (I am vietnamese) but this one provides the perfect amount of aroma and taste. When I make pho, I put all the spices in a tea bag or 2, this helps make the broth clear, which is one of the requirements for the perfect Pho broth. You can get all the spices at Bulk Barn, or at a spice bazaar. Have fun cooking!
  • midwest736
    6 FEB, 2014
    I live in a major metropolitan area and am pretty sure locating all of the foreign ingredients would be only a minor challenge. But... The meat ingredients alone for this one pot of soup would total approximately $65-70 in this market .... ONLY the meat. Figure in the cost of the other ingredients and it ends up being an awfully steep price for a bowl of what's meant to be "street food".
  • NaturalSmarts
    17 DEC, 2012
    If you don't skim the "fat" you are actually keeping the immune stimulating factors, and the glucosamine which helps with joint pain n discomfort. It won't lok the same, but it's much healthier to keep the "fat" which is actually parts of the above.
  • cakester2836
    12 DEC, 2012
    For those who are looking for the directions for the spices within this recipe, they are provided in Step 3 last sentence "...transfer onions, shallots, ginger, and spices to stockpot with bones and meat.". Hope this helps...I've been wanting to try this recipe myself.
  • Whitneylyn
    12 AUG, 2012
    If you read the recipe, it doesn't tell you what to do with the spices after you toast them in the skillet. "Set aside" is the last instruction regarding them. It needs to be proofed better.
  • Whitneylyn
    12 AUG, 2012
    If you read the recipe, it doesn't tell you what to do with the spices after you toast them in the skillet. "Set aside" is the last instruction regarding them. It needs to be proofed better.
  • ckelly73
    12 JUL, 2011
    Although I appreciate the authenticity of the recipe, I would love one that I can actually find the ingredients for.
  • maitai326
    16 MAR, 2011
    Loved the TV segment and appreciated chef Thomas Joseph sharing his experiences with his studies and travels. I've seen my mom make this dish but has always been overwhelmed with the process and time it takes - however, after seeing this segment I'm eager to try it out!! Will report with results, hopefully soon!! Thanks again!!