Faux Pho


I just made this last night and literally could not wait to post it for you guys!

I think there must be two kind of people when it comes to Pho (pronounced fuh, rhymes with duh); those who LOVE it, and those who have never tried it. I am convinced that to try it is to love it. I mean, how could you not? It is filled with so many wonderful things: silky noodles, tender beef, crunchy sprouts, spicy chilies, fresh basil, and the most flavorful broth in the world! Pho broth is something I always thought was better left to the professionals, which is why I had never attempted this famous Vietnamese dish at home, but when I saw a “Faux pho” recipe as I was going through a stack of old Bon Appetite magazines, I thought, “I can do this!” and decided to give it a try.

The reason this is “Faux” Pho is because you don’t cook the broth from scratch, you use beef stack and add in lots of intense flavors like ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and star anise, to recreate the day long simmering broth from your favorite pho restaurant. Now, if I’m being honest, I thought it was….fantastic! I’ll admit I didn’t achieve quite the depth of flavor that my local pho joint does, but it was pretty darn good.

I was actually surprised at how much flavor I was able to impart into store bought beef stock in a short amount of time, all thanks to some super powerful ingredients. You throw in the onion, ginger, garlic, and star anise whole and fish them out of the broth before serving. Just heat up some oil in a big pot and toss everything in. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the beef stock and some water.

Throw in the cinnamon and star anise and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10ish minutes. If you husband were to come home during those 10 minutes he might shout, “Holy Crap! It smells so good in here!” One of the best things ever for a cook to hear right?! ;)

Add the mushrooms (I used a combo of dried shitake and fresh crimini) and green onion and simmer 5ish minutes.

While that is simmering, boil some water for your ramen noodles and begin slicing your beef. I used filet of top sirloin but you can use whatever cut you like. The most important thing is to slice it as paper thin as you can get it. Sharpen you knife before this task people!

Cook your ramen noodles for about 4 minutes in boiling water, until they are tender but just undercooked as they will keep cooking once the hot broth hits them, and place into your serving bowl. Then get your condiments ready. If you have eaten pho you will know that your soup comes to you in a big giant bowl and on the side comes a plate with all sorts of goodies. Traditionally, you get bean sprouts, basil leaves, thinly sliced serrano chilies, and green onion. Something like this…

But feel free to play around with what you like! My husband always puts soy sauce in his pho, and we always add lots of chili sauce too! :) Use what you like!

Right before you are ready to eat, toss the beef into the hot broth. It only takes a minute (or less!) to cook.

Give it a stir to make sure all the beef gets incorporated into the broth and you are ready to serve! Ladle the hot broth onto the ramen noodles and make sure to get lots of the mushrooms and beef! Add whatever condiments you like and enjoy! Serve with some hot tea or a cold beer :)

I think this pho is one of the best things I have made in a while. I don’t know why I was so scared of it! I think my goal of trying out more Asian recipes is going pretty well so far! Although, I did make my hubby stop at our favorite pho place and pick up some of their amazing spring rolls to go with our soup…one thing at a time! ;)


Faux Pho

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetite


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium pieces peeled ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups low-salt beef broth
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 ounces (2 cups) mixed mushrooms (such as oyster or stemmed shiitake), thinly sliced or torn
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 packages ramen noodles (instant is OK)
  • 1 1/2-pound piece beef (I used filet of top sirloin) sliced very thin
  • Bean sprouts, basil leaves, green onion, and thinly sliced serrano chiles


  • Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion, cut side down, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 3–4 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, broth, star anise, and cinnamon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until flavors meld, 10ish minutes. Add mushrooms; simmer 5 minutes. Add scallion. Season with salt.
  • Meanwhile, boil ramen until tender but still firm to bite (about 4 minutes). Drain; divide among bowls.
  • Add beef slices to soup; simmer until just cooked through, about 20 seconds – 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer beef to bowls.
  • Discard ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon; ladle broth into bowls.
    Garnish with bean sprouts, basil, green onion, and sliced chiles.



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  1. Alanna says:

    Sounds like a good recipe, I’ll need to try it! Where did you find the star anise? I have a chai recipe that calls for it but haven’t even though to look for it yet.

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