We love to eat pho in our house…but it just takes all day to make. So when I make it…I usually MAKE a HUGE POT so we can at least have it for at least 2 days. My husband loves BEEF pho but I used to hate to make it because my broth usually starts off so clear with a light brown color…but then it turns a DARK color broth and I didn’t know why??? So, I did some research and asked around…and what I found was that I keep the spice ball in the POT too too long. Now…I would cook the beef bones for 4-6 hours then I would add the spice in the last 2-4 hours and it MADE a huge differences…the FLAVOR is still there but my broth is clear and a light caramel color. What I found is that the broth is still a beautiful color the next day…but the FLAVOR is even better!!!


For the broth

  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 6 inch piece ginger
  • 5 pounds beef soup bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
  • 3 pound ox tails
  • 1.5 pounds of daikon (peeled and sliced into 2in pieces)
  • 5 star anise
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 3 cinnamon stick
  • 5-6 black cardamon 
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 medium size pieces (2 tablespoon) of  yellow rock sugar
  • 2 packages of bo vien (optional)


**they sell the prepackage spices here if you don’t want to make your own…it also comes with a little pouch for you.


*** In a small frying pan with NO OIL over medium heat add in the star anise, cloves, fennel seed, coriander seed, cinnamon stick and cardamon. Roast the spices for about 10 minutes….this helps to bring out the flavor and fragrant. Turn off stove and set aside..once its cool …put the spices in the spice ball.

Roasting the spices.

****I put my spices in this little strainer. This is a better one here 


  • Sprigs Thai basil
  • Cilantro (thinly sliced)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Red hot chiles (such as Thai bird or dragon), thinly sliced
  • Green onions
  • Red/White onion (thinly sliced)
  • Jalapeno (thinly sliced)
  • Lime wedges
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Sriracha  


Prepare the pho broth

Char onion and ginger. Use on  gas stove over medium heat. If you don’t have a gas stove …you can place on a little baking dish and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Place onions and ginger on cooking grate and let skin burn. (If using stove, turn on exhaust fan) After about 10 minutes, they will soften and become sweetly fragrant. Use tongs to occasionally rotate them and to grab and discard any flyaway onion skin. You do not have to blacken entire surface, just enough to slightly cook onion and ginger.

Charring onion and ginger.

Let cool. Under warm water, remove charred onion skin; trim and discard blackened parts of root or stem ends. If ginger skin is puckered and blistered, smash ginger with flat side of knife to loosen flesh from skin. Otherwise, use sharp paring knife to remove skin, running ginger under warm water to wash off blackened bits. Set aside.

Parboil bones. Place bones and ox tail in stockpot and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring to boil. Boil vigorously for about 5 minutes to allow impurities to be released. Dump bones/ox tail and water into sink and rinse with warm water. Quickly scrub stockpot to remove any residue. Return clean bones and ox tail back into pot.

Simmer broth. Add enough water to cover all the bones and ox tail (about 1.5 gallon). Bring to boil over high heat, then lower flame to simmer. Use ladle to skim any scum that rises to surface. Next, add in the onion and ginger and daikon, uncovered and COOK for 4 hours on low-simmer.  After 4 hours, remove the ox tail and set aside. Then add in your PHO SPICE BALL or cheese cloth, salt, fish sauce and rock sugar. I didn’t want to add the spice ball in the beginning because I found that my broth was VERY DARK…so I wanted to let the broth bones, daikon, onions, and ginger..cook for 4 hours first then I added the spice ball… and this made all the differences!! My broth now is a light clear caramel color and the FLAVOR is amazing!!!

Daikon ..ready to peel


         Daikon in 2in pieces


Pot with bones, ox tail, daikon, ginger, and onion.

Ox Tail after 4 hours…take out and set aside.

Spices after it has been roasted and now all ready in the spice ball.

spices in spice ball

Allow broth to continue cooking; in total, the broth should simmer 8 hours.

Rock Sugar

Use a skimmer  to skim as much fat from top of the pho broth. Taste and adjust flavor with additional salt, fish sauce and yellow rock sugar.

Assemble pho bowls:

The key is to be organized and have everything ready to go. Thinly slice cooked meat. I usually prep everything and leave in the refrigerator until its time to serve.

Sliced filet mignon


All prep and ready for refrigerator

Blanch noodles. Fill 3- or 4-quart saucepan with water and bring to boil. For each bowl, use long-handle strainer to blanch a portion of noodles. Blanch for about 20-30 seconds…you don’t want to over cook your noodle.

I buy my pho noodle from the  refrigerator section.


blanch for 20-30 seconds





Blanch the noodle and place in a big deep bowl. Place ox tails, sliced filet mignon, and bo vien (if using) atop noodles. (If your cooked meat is not at room temperature, blanch a few slices for few seconds in hot water). Next, add in the bean sprouts, sliced green onions, red/white sliced onions, cilantro, basil, jalapeno.

Bo Vien (freezer section)


Cut in half an blanch in the pho    broth


Ladle in broth and serve. Bring broth to rolling boil. Check seasoning. Ladle broth into each bowl, distributing hot liquid evenly so as to cook raw beef and warm other ingredients. Serve your pho with garnish to your liking.

Bowls are prep ready for broth


Pho bowl with broth

***If you want to refrigerate it…Strain the pho broth through fine strainer. Store tendon and bones with other cooked meat (Bo VIen). Discard daikons, onions, and spices.  MAKE SURE THE BROTH is COMPLETELY COOL before you store in the refrigerator.


***here is a cheat sheet of the spices

***picture is from internet**

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