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Cold Weather. Hot bowl of soup. And when it comes to a comforting hot bowl of soup, absolutely nothing beats a big, spiced broth-y bowl of pho from any number of amazing places on Atlanta's Buford Highway. Except for those times when I'm nowhere near Buford Highway. Or I'm traveling out in the sticks. Or I'm sick. Or any other number of places / reasons that keep me from authentic pho. Cue the Instant Pot y'all - you can make Instant Pot Pho in under two hours that has tons of rich, spiced bone broth flavor.
For many, pho is a relatively new dish. If you live in a major city, you've probably at least seen it around. If you're not familiar with it though, I've addressed a few common pho questions for you.
First and foremost ...
How is Pho Pronounced?
Food blogger talking about personal life: Truth be told I mispronounce pho all the time and have to stop myself from saying "Foe". The first time I ever heard it referenced, that's how it was pronounced, and it's like that pronunciation got stuck in my brain or something. Don't be like me. Learn to say it the right way now, before it's too late!
What does Pho taste like?
Rich and deep with complex flavor, beef pho broth is traditionally cooked over many, many hours, and the flavors reflect that. Although it has lots of warm spices, the broth in and of itself is not spicy in the heat sense. This easy beef pho recipe drastically reduces the cooking time, injecting flavor into water with pressure and not time. As a result, I don't find the flavors to be quite a deep as the traditional kind, although I tried to stay true to the authentic spices and overall flavors. Additionally, the broth will not be clear, as the very nature of pressure cooking agitates the broth while cooking ( thus making it cloudy.)
What spices are in Pho?
Usually some combination of the following:
- star anise
- whole coriander
If you have access to an Asian market, you can often find pre-made spice packets that work like a charm as well!
What cut of beef is used in Pho?
Traditionally, beef brisket. I usually use whatever type of beef is on sale though. Although not as tender as brisket, I find a round or sirloin cut do just fine. As long as you slice the meat very thinly and against the grain, you should be all set! Pro tip: Freezing the meat for an hour or two before slicing makes the cuts much easier and cleaner.
What type of bones should I use?
Beef bones - knuckle bones if you can find them. I can usually get a sack of frozen bones with a lot of knuckle bones from my local asian grocer. A single marrow bone or two can be a nice addition but will make your broth VERY fatty ( you've been warned! ) If all you can find is marrow bones, you might want to scoop out most, but not all, of the marrow before using them in this recipe. Otherwise, you'll want to chill the broth overnight so that you can scoop out some of the excess oiliness that will be in the broth.
Other fantastic uses for the Instant Pot:
Instant Pot Beef Pho
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil or high-smokepoint oil of your choice
- 1 white onion quartered
- 3 inches fresh ginger sliced
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 lbs beef bones knuckle bones or soup bones ( see note )
- 9 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 6 ounces thin, flat rice noodles
- 1 lb sirloin beef roast or steak sliced nearly paper thin
- Thai Basil
- Jalapeños sliced
- Mung Bean Sprouts
- Set the Instant Pot to saute, and give it a full 8 minutes to get screaming hot. Add the oil to the pot. Let it heat up for about 10 seconds, then add the onion and the ginger to the pot. Stir to coat in the oil, then let the onion and ginger sit in the hot pot on saute for 2-3 minutes, or until they start to char and blacken.
- Flip all the pieces of onion and ginger, and add the star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander, and fennel seeds to the pot. Toast for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the water to the pot, making sure to scrape up any lingering burnt pieces of onion and ginger from the bottom. Add the beef bones and the salt.
- Place the lid on the pot and turn it to lock it into place. Move the vent to sealed position. Cancel the saute function and press the Pressure Cook button. Set the timer for an hour and 15 minutes.Once the timer is finished, let the pot sit for another 30 minutes ( Natural Pressure Release for 30 minutes ), then carefully and slowly open the pressure valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Prepare the noodles according to package directions.
- Strain everything that was in the pot so that all is remaining is the broth.
- To serve - place 1/4 of the noodles in a large bowl. Top with HOT broth. Add slices of raw beef to the hot broth ( it will cook in the broth! ). Serve with various toppings. I love mine with lime, lots of mung bean sprouts, basil, and sriracha.