Sweet & Spicy Pho

Aren’t these flowers gorgeous?


My dad sent them to my sister on Friday and thank goodness he did because she was not a happy camper.


Not that I blame her at all. She had to have surgery on Friday and it sounds like the nurses and doctors weren’t very on top of it and she was given some misinformation which is such a bummer, right? Because seriously, when you’re going in to surgery the last thing you want is to feel like the doctors don’t have their stuff together.

So this brings me to pho – Candy (my sister) loves pho. She’s always been the adventurous eater in the family, and likes to remind me of this as often as humanly possible – but its true. She was eating sushi probably before I knew what it was, and sea urchin, and all the other crazy-wonderful foods that I now love but years ago wasn’t very sure about. I think its because she’s lived in San Francisco for so long.

This city really makes you appreciate foods from all different cultures – because not only is the food incredibly yummy, but its also super accessible. I can walk two blocks and get amazing Thai food or the best cup of coffee or a macaroon – or I can log into an app and have fresh pho at my door in 30 minutes. Did I mention I love living here?

But anyway – Candy introduced me to pho not too long ago, and so on Friday when she wasn’t feeling very well I made a quick Whole Foods run and whipped up some of this and then we sat on the couch together and watched murder mysteries until her codeine kicked in because that’s what you do for your family.

Side note: The longer the broth sits, the more flavorful it becomes. You can really taste the basil and the cinnamon – its really special. It also beats the same old chicken soup (I mean nothing beats chicken soup all the time but this could be a close second).

Other side note: Candy is feeling much, much better. I hear she even left the couch yesterday to do a little shopping. I can’t help but think it was probably this pho that did the trick.

Or the codeine. But, details.


Ingredients –
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 sweet onion
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and sliced thin
1 quart of beef broth
4 cups of water
3 carrots, sliced
1 lb of beef tips
1 8 oz package of dried rice noodles (I used whole wheat)
1 lime
Bean sprouts
Bunch of basil
Bunch of cilantro

  1. Heat the olive oil over a medium saucepan, and saute the onions and ginger until the onions brown and the ginger become aromatic.
  2. In a large soup pot, add the ginger and onion, fish sauce, soy sauce, coriander, anise, cinnamon stick, jalapeno, beef broth, water and carrots (whew!) to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for one hour.
  3. While the broth is simmering, slice the beef very thinly. This is the trick to make sure it cooks quickly, and to ensure that the flavors from the broth flavor the meat which it cooks.
  4. Add the beef to the pot, and let cook for about five minutes. Then add the rice noodles, and cook for another five.
  5.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top, and add in the spouts, basil and cilantro. Enjoy!


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