Pho Noodles Soup with Pork and Vegetables
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I have cooked my version of Vietnamese-inspired Pho Noodles Soup with Pork and Vegetables so often that it just dawned on me I had not yet posted a recipe here on my blog. So today was as good as any to share with you one of the easiest Asian soup meals to put together. Pho noodle soup is popular with Filipinos. This soup that has many similarities to Filipino meals — there is a variety of meats and vegetables, noodles are used to extend the dish and the broth is flavored with patis (fish sauce).
To cook this,you start with good stock.Making a good soup stock is like life. What you put in is what you will eat later. I learned how to make good soup from my mom. She patiently simmered beef or pork bones in a large cauldron for an entire day, till the meat was so silky and tender it glided off the bones. I think what made a difference in mom’s soup stock was that the large stockpot simmered over kindled firewood in a makeshift stove outside the kitchen in my childhood home back in the Philippines. If the meat had to be simmered for long hours, then mom preferred it to be cooked over firewood because cooking indoors with gas was expensive in the Philippines. It still is, though.
Nowadays, in my American kitchen, I have several options for making a good soup stock. I can cook it stove top, in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot pressure cooker. On busy days and weeknights, I opt for the latter. But on weekends, especially this chilly winter month, I simmered the clear broth with pork neck bones low and slow for nearly a day.
It was easy to just toss everything in the cast iron stockpot – pork neck bones, organic broth, seasonings. The addition of patis (fish sauce) gave the entire broth that special zing one finds in Asian dishes. I gave the broth a few stirs and covered the whole thing.
From around the house, I occasionally looked at the stove top and saw the smoke billowing from the sides of the cover. The combined aromas of onions, garlic, ginger, scallions blended with star anise and floated around all day.
I had a useful resource for this recipe in the cookbook of prolific author Nancie McDermott, Simply Vietnamese Cooking. Though making Pho Noodles Soup is a straightforward process, Nancie said this “Pho takes a little more time than most dishes, but it gives you a memorable, delicious reward.” I agree 100%.
Once the soup stock was ready, packed with the amazing myriad of flavors from the seasonings, I arranged the noodles, pork chunks and vegetables in individual soup bowls for my family. Since I had purchased fresh (pre-boiled) noodles from the Asian market, all I needed to do was place them in the bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. I poured the piping-hot soup broth over the noodles. I could see the long, translucent, pearl-white strings soften and cook within the bowl. Life is what you make it. Just like this bowl of heavenly goodness. What you put in are exactly the wholesome flavors, textures and aromas you’ll enjoy at the dinner table.
Pho Noodles Soup with Pork and Vegetables
- Large stockpot - 8, 10 or 12 quarts
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 whole white onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 knob fresh ginger about 1-inch size, peeled, sliced in thin strips
- 4 stalks scallions chopped, use 2 stalks for stock, rest for garnish
- 2 Tablespoons patis fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 8 to 10 cups organic vegetable broth or use water
- 3 segments star anise sangke in the Philippines
- 2.5 to 3 pounds pork neck bones
- 1 pound pork shoulder cut in 2-inch cubes
- 1 whole large carrot peeled, sliced
- 3 cups shredded bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
- 8 oz. fresh pho noodles (pre-boiled) from Asian markets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 2 whole hard-boiled eggs peeled, sliced, for garnish
- In a heavy, large stockpot (at least 6 quarts), add the vegetable oil. Over medium high heat, saute the onions, garlic, ginger, scallions for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Separately, in a small bowl, mix the patis (fish sauce) and sugar. Then pour this in the stockpot with the rest of the ingredients.
- Pour the organic vegetable broth (or use water). Add the star anise.
- Add the pork neck bones and pork shoulder cubes. Cover and bring to a boil. When it boils, lower heat to a slow simmer. Cover and continue simmering for at least six hours or more.
- About 30 minutes before serving, add the carrots and the cabbage. The cabbage will only take about 2 minutes to soften.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- To prepare the fresh (pre-boiled) noodles: Blanch the noodles in boiling water for 1 minute. Then wash in running water and drain liquids. Loosen noodles with a fork to spread them out. Add these noodles to the soup bowl during assembly.
- To assemble: In individual soup bowls, place a serving of the fresh (pre-boiled) pho noodles. Cut with scissors if noodles are too long to handle. Nestle pieces of pork, carrots and cabbage next to the noodles. Just before serving, pour the piping-hot soup stock over the ingredients. The noodles will soften with the boiling broth. Garnish with slices of hard-boiled eggs and additional scallions.
- Cook's comments: If preferred, use beef short ribs and beef stew chunks for this recipe. Add any vegetables in season.
- Ingredient Notes: If using dried pho noodles, choose those that are dry, flat and wide noodles. To prep and cook - soak the dry noodles in a bowl of warm water for about 15 to 20 minutes till soft. Drain. Then dunk noodles in a medium-sized stockpot of boiling water. Leave noodles for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove stockpot from the stove top. Let the noodles stand for 10 minutes. Loosen with a fork. Drain and set aside. Assemble in a soup bowl with the rest of ingredients as instructed above.
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Nutrition Notes: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on brands of ingredients and cooking methods used.
Did you like these photos and want the recipes? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. and HowTo Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]
Yum. Just made this tonight. I added 2cuos of fish stock with 2 cups of vegetable stock to simmer with the pork bone broth. Such a simple easy recepie. Thank you x
Thanks, Belle. So glad you enjoyed it.
Loved This Recipe So Delicious & Very much A comfort Meal For me & my Family!! Thanks For Sharing
Thanks, Pamela. Happy to hear you and your family enjoyed this recipe. Be well.