Have you seen my post about making zoodles? Homemade pho is a great way to enjoy zucchini ‘noodles.' Zoodles are truly one of my favorite ways to get the function and joy of pasta without feeling like I've devoured several fistfuls of starch.
While there's nothing wrong with carbs, sometimes the mood or the season calls for something lighter. I love zoodles topped with savory sauces like bolognese, alfredo, or pesto, and recently I discovered that they make a fantastic alternative to rice noodles in my favorite Vietnamese soup: homemade pho.
Growing up in Pennsyltucky, I didn't really experience much in the way of true ethnic food (aside from Polish delicacies like pierogies and halupki and my mom's versions of Filipino adobo and pancit) until I moved to the big city. There I fell in love with cuisines from around the world – sushi from Japan, curries from India and Thailand, French patê and pastries, carnitas and molé from Mexico, and pho from Vietnam.
The trick to good homemade pho is definitely in the broth. You must start with a good basic bone broth – not stock from a store-bought carton or can. Learn how to make beef bone broth here. Don't try to shortcut this, because it makes all the difference. Then you need to take the time to infuse the spices into the broth – garlic, star anise, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, and coriander. YUM.
Tip: Don't have time/energy to make your own bone broth?
Buy it online here.
This version of homemade pho is made with raw beef that gently cooks in the piping hot broth. It's magical and my favorite pho by far. If you prefer to use chicken or veggies, I'd recommend cooking them a bit before adding them to your bowl.
This dish is essentially paleo, however if you opt to add the mung bean sprouts which contribute a nice, cool crunch, I'm sure you're breaking some sort of paleo cardinal rule. You decide.
Lastly, if you prefer traditional homemade pho with flat rice noodles, simply prepare the noodles according to package instructions and add them instead of zoodles. Worried about white rice noodles? When it comes to rice, I actually prefer white.
Whether you need to recover from a cold or just want a savory bowl of comfort, this homemade pho with zoodles is sure to hit the spot.
Homemade pho ingredients
For the broth:
- 1 onion
- 6 inches fresh ginger
- 6 cloves garlic
- 6 cups beef stock – learn to make beef bone broth here or sub chicken bone broth
- 2 tablespoons raw honey – Get it local or this one online
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce, plus more to taste – I adore this fish sauce
- 4 star anise
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt – This is my favorite sea salt
For the Pho:
- 8 ounces london broil steak (or other lean steak) frozen and partially thawed – Buy grass fed beef online here
- 1 batch zoodles, (zucchini noodles) – Learn how to make zoodles here
- 4 scallions
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 jalapeno, optional for heat
- Mung bean sprouts, optional
- 1/2 cup basil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce – My favorite fish sauce
- 2 limes
Homemade pho method
- Slice partially thawed steak against the grain as thinly as possible; set aside.
- Coarsely chop the onion. Cut the ginger in half and coarsely chop the garlic.
- In a slow cooker, add the broth, onion, ginger, garlic, honey, peppercorns, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, cardamom pod, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and sea salt. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to infuse. Strain the broth and replace back into the slow cooker to keep piping hot. If seasoning becomes too strong, add a bit more borth.
- Prepare zucchini noodles (zoodles) using this recipe.
- Slice scallions into long thin strips. Use a julienne tool (this is my favorite) or sharp knife to slice carrot into ribbons. Thinly slice jalapeno, if using. Chop basil and cut limes into wedges.
- Divide the zoodles among the bowls. Place several slices of raw sliced beef and carrot and scallion ribbons on top. Pour hot beef broth into each bowl and serve immediately with lime wedges and optional sliced jalapenos and mung bean sprouts on the side.