Pho Bo soups are such a delicious, delicate and unique dish already, but adding a few extras like spinach and shiitakes makes it a touch more special. The usual traditional pho bo soup contains a few pieces of long cooked meat in it, but here I’ve simply used bones to make the broth and no extra meat pieces. The Shiitakes replace the meat pieces to perfection, in the resulting soup, only those thinly sliced raw pieces of meat remain in this pho version.
The difficult part in this soup is to keep the broth clear, although fully packed in flavour. This means, pre boiling the bones at first and rinsing them, then never boiling, a good filter and really low coccion help with this. In my last pho recipe, I’ve add extra pieces of meat, during coccion which made my soup blurry, so as a perfectionist… I had to redo my broth, and this time, finally, I’ve made it crystal clear.
The recipe differs slightly from the previous one, since I’ve used more bones and no chicken carcass or meat. If you are not a big meat eater this is the pho for you. Just a touch of thin beef slices and lots of veggies.
The proper serving bowl is a big and thick bowl, which you preheat before or add a little hot broth or hot water before serving into it. Make sure the soup is hot when you serve it, also warm up the noodles in the broth at first, to prevent the soup from getting cold when you fill it with all those other extras. It needs to be warm enough to cook your final touch; the raw meat slices.
So let’s make this crystal clear and flavorful soup!
Pho Bo with spinach and shiitake
- 2 kg beef bones
- 200g of carpaccio (raw beef, thinly cut)
- 2 big yellow onions
- 1 piece of ginger (10cm long)
- 5 anise star
- 1 cinnamon stick
- a few white pepper grains
- 5 cloves
- 1 piece of yellow rock sugar *optional
- Fish sauce to taste (Phu Quoc)
The final step
- Banh Pho Thuong Hang (rice noodles)
- spring onions
- flat leave parsley
- beans sprouts
- limes cut into quarters
- thai chili peppers
- Cover the bones and meat pieces into a big cold water pot, bring to a boil for a minute
- Eliminate the water with residues and rinse the bones into cold water for a few minutes (clean up the pot from residues)
- Add the bones and meat again to the big pot and fill with water, bring to a low simmer
- On a gas burner or in your oven on broil mode, char the ginger and onions until black (keep the skin) on every side (takes 5-10 minutes) Turn with metal tongs
- Once the charring is done, cool the ginger and onion before peeling off the skin
- Cut the onion and ginger into big pieces and add to the broth
- In a pan, add a little oil, and cook the aromatics; anise stars, clove, pepper, cinnamon a minute or 2 before adding to the broth
- Leave the broth gently simmer for 5-6 hours (even a night) with cover
- When the broth is ready, discard the bones
- Clear the broth through a sieve, then through a cheesecloth (or paper towel inside a sieve, or stockings) to make it extra clear
- Prepare the rice noodles, by simply soaking them into warm water for a minimum of 15 minutes
- In a pan cook the shiitakes, high heat, add extra garlic and parsley in the end of coccion
- Add a yellow rock sugar and fish sauce until well seasoned into the broth and bring to simmer a last time
- Take a small sieve or mini basket to plunge the presoaked rice noodles into the simmering broth, for about 30 seconds, before adding to a preheated bowls
- Top with the raw beef (carpaccio), beans sprouts, spinach, spring onion and shiitakes
- Fill the bowl with the broth
Serve with the usual side of thai peppers, lime and extra fish sauce for the salt lovers. Enjoy!