In Vietnam, pho, as this rice-noodle soup is known, is often enjoyed for breakfast. Nutritionists recommend incorporating red meat into one's diet just as it's used here -- in small portions and as a complement to other foods. The soup also includes bean sprouts and a handful of fresh herbs.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2005


Credit: James Baigrie

Recipe Summary



For the Stock
For the Soup
For the Garnish


Instructions Checklist
  • Make stock: Heat star anise, cinnamon, and cloves in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart stockpot.

  • Preheat broiler. Broil ginger and onions, flipping once, until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to pot. Add oxtail, 2-inch scallion pieces, and peppercorns. Add 5 quarts water; bring to a boil. Skim foam. Add salt. Reduce heat. Simmer, skimming occasionally, 2 1/2 hours.

  • Pour stock through a large sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Let cool 20 minutes. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large bowl. Refrigerate, covered, 6 hours or overnight.

  • Make soup: Chill beef in freezer until firm, about 2 hours. Cover noodles with cold water. Let stand until noodles are softened, about 30 minutes; drain.

  • Cut beef in half. Place each half flat side down, and cut beef against the grain as thinly as possible. Allow beef to warm to room temperature.

  • Skim fat from stock; discard. Transfer stock to a pot; add shallots, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until shallots are soft, about 15 minutes.

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until just tender, about 10 seconds; drain.

  • Divide noodles, beef, and sprouts among 4 bowls. Add simmering stock (it will cook beef gently). Top with thinly sliced scallions and herbs; serve each with a lime wedge.

Cook's Notes

The stock needs to be refrigerated for at least six hours; make it a day ahead.


Reviews (2)

11 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: Unrated
I sub shank for oxtail, and I found whole star anise in a small cello package under the Badia brand, which in my store, has it's own little spices section near the produce. I love this soup, but use sirloin sliced VERY thinly, as I personally find the round to be tougher and have less flavor.
Rating: Unrated
What can substitute for oxtail. Where can I find star anise--not available in this area. Thanks.