Sunday, 24 August 2008

Pho Bo Thai

Not a lot is going on at the moment!! We've been having a rather lovely time catching up with friends who have been away for the summer.....which basically means we've been eating too much and drinking too much (again!!).

So since I have been neglecting you I thought that I would share one of my favourite Thai recipes. It's called Pho Bo Thai and is a soup that you have as a main course. It takes an effortless three and a half hours to make plus cooling (It really is effortless I promise!!) and serves between four and six people depending on who you're having round. It's best to make the stock the day before but you can do it in the morning :-)

Pho Bo Thai -

  • 1 – 1.3kg beef rib or shin bone
  • 1 large onion, cut in half with skin on
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 50g fresh ginger, unpeeled and halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised or grated zest of half a lemon
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200g medium rice noodles
  • 2 heads of Chinese-type greens, pak choi is ideal, roughly chopped
  • 2 thick-cut sirloin steaks, trimmed
  • Bunch of spring onions, cut into short lengths
  • 150g beansprouts
  • 2 – 3 small red chillies, sliced
  • 2 limes, halved
  • Small bunch of Vietnamese coriander, or regular coriander

  1. First, make the stock. Preheat the oven to 200/Fan 180/ gas 6. Put the bone, onion, garlic and ginger in a roasting tray and cook for 1 hour.
  2. Transfer to a large pan and add 2.5 litres cold water. Add the cinnamon, cloves and lemongrass or zest and bring to a simmer on the hob. Cook for 2 hours, then strain into a bowl, discarding the solids – you should have about 1 litre. Season with the fish sauce, salt and sugar. Ideally, cool overnight, then skim any fat from the top.
  3. To make the final dish, cook the noodles in plenty boiling water for 2 minutes, until just tender. Drain, cool under cold running water and divide the noodles between bowls.
  4. Put the stock into a large wok or pan and heat until simmering. Add the Chinese greens. Thinly slice the steaks, add to the pan and remove from the heat – this means the steak is only just cooked and very tender.
  5. Divide the soup between the bowls of noodles, then top with the spring onions. The beansprouts, chillies, limes and herbs are served at the table, with extra fish sauce. Each diner wilts the herbs and beansprouts into the broth, then tempers it with lime juice, chillies and fish sauce.
Told you it was's also absolutely yummy and looks fab on the table!! (Actually the recipe is a mixture of Thai and Vietnamese. The stock is unique as roasting bones with garlic and ginger is very unusual for Asian cooking. It's believed that this recipe was created somewhere at the Thai/Vietnamese border and is possibly a legacy of the French colonisation of Vietnam)

Let me know if you have a go at making it :-)


  1. Yum, it sounds delicious. I'll definitely be making it in the very near future.

  2. Anything with garlic is good as far as I'm concerned!

  3. That sounds droolingly delicious. I have the fish stock (!) although very little else. I will stock up and attempt.

    And I love its name:-)

  4. yuuuuuuuummmmmm...tell you what, I will trade you some backberry wine, blackberry jelly and crab apple jelly if you come here and make some for us. Deal? :)

  5. Pat - You really tastes so good!!

    JJ - Yay for garlic....I don't care if it makes me smell...I love the stuff!!

    Lane - It's worth trying...and easy to make...and everyone can add what they want which means no-one complains about it being too spicy etc!!

    DJ - Your on!!!

    C x

  6. That does sound delicious, I'll have to print it out and make it sometime soon.


  7. Debs - You won't regret it if you do :-)

    C x

  8. My grandparents are going to love you when I try and cook them this recipe!

    I have a Thai home decor website and am looking for some recipe ideas to post on a learning section of my website to add a touch of flavor to the site. Any interest in contributing your ideas?

    I was out in Bangkok for a while, and miss it dearly. Your recipe has teased my taste buds. Thanks!

  9. by the way my website is

    since I left that out for you to check out! sorry!

    contact me directly if you would let me throw some of your recipes on my learning section!

  10. William - Welcome and thanks for your comment. I hope you do make the soup for your won't regret it!!

    I love Thai food so am more than happy to contribute my ideas :-)

    Will send you an e-mail



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