Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Not My Mama's Pho

I recently started buying some specialty broth from our Safeway here in Oregon. I was using it to make some soups and stir fries....my daughter would come home from school and ask why it smelled like pho in the kitchen. 
I rarely ever make pho, but Gianna knows the aromatic essence well from years of eating at my mom's place. But the more I thought about the roasted onion infused in the broth.... it reminded of my brother standing at his stove searing onion and ginger over the fire. 
Then I decided it was time to make some. I knew as long as I had some fresh herbs such as cilantro, green onions, some lime, and some hoisin and red chili garlic sauce, it would be good enough for me.
I can't help but be particular about how I like my pho. The super wide noodles are my favorite!!
We normally used inexpensive oxtail to make pho when I was growing up in Arkansas. But here on the West coast in the Asian mecca of the United States, oxtail is pretty expensive!! There are at least 10 restaurants close by with the name Pho in it, and they're mostly scooping brisket into their bowls of pho. In place of oxtail, I found some cross cut beef shanks at the store, and I remembered that Charles Phan used them in his beef stock recipe. 

The other hassle of making pho is slicing paper thin cuts of eye of round. So I just made my usual flat iron steak and cut it against the grain. I think it turned out pretty good. Try my shortcut cheater pho! 

  • About 1 lb. of beef shanks
  • 4 cups of garlic & roasted onion infused beef broth
  • 1 flat iron steak, marinated with fish sauce, tamari, turbinado sugar, and garlic
  • Wide pho noodles  

  • Cilantro 
  • Green onions
  • Lime
  • Thai Basil
  • Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Hoisin
  • Fish Sauce
  1. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat a small Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a thin layer of oil, and brown the shanks on each side.
  2. Add the broth, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat, cover, and simmer about an hour.
  4. Cook the pho noodles per package instructions, then drain and rinse to prevent sticking.
  5. Broil the flat iron steak about 8 minutes per side. Let rest, then slice against the grain.
  6. Shred the shank meat. Add the noodles into a bowl, add some broth, and the two meats.
  7. Top with garnishes and condiments.


  1. I also lament how expensive oxtail has become! Beef shank is a good alternative. Nevertheless, here in NY, H-mart is my go-to for lovely meaty oxtail. I guess the good news is how much the American palate has broadened!

    1. That is good news indeed!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!