This is an easy Pho Tai recipe that is made with beef broth, thin-cut sirloin, rice noodles and garnished with lime, cilantro, bean sprouts and chilies.
We're excited to share a simplified Pho Tai recipe that you can easily recreate in your own kitchen. No need to spend hours simmering the broth or fussing over complicated techniques. Our approach focuses on simplicity without compromising on the authentic flavors that make Pho Tai so irresistible.
Whether you're a Pho enthusiast or new to this iconic dish, our recipe will guide you step by step, ensuring you achieve a delicious and satisfying result. From preparing the aromatic broth to perfectly slicing the beef and assembling the bowl with fresh herbs and toppings, we've got you covered.
What is Pho Tai?
Phở Tái, commonly known as Pho Tai, is a popular Vietnamese dish that consists of a flavorful beef broth served with rice noodles and thinly sliced rare beef. "Phở" refers to the type of noodle used in the dish, and "Tái" refers to the thinly sliced rare beef.
Pho Tai is typically served in a large bowl, with the hot beef broth poured over the cooked rice noodles and slices of raw beef. The heat from the broth partially cooks the beef, resulting in tender and succulent meat. The dish is often garnished with fresh herbs like cilantro and Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and thinly sliced onions. Additional condiments such as hoisin sauce and Sriracha may be added according to personal preference, allowing diners to customize the flavors to their liking.
Why you will love this recipe
- Flavorful Broth: The heart of Pho Tai lies in its flavorful broth. Traditionally made by simmering beef bones, herbs, and spices for hours, the broth is rich, aromatic, and deeply satisfying. The combination of ingredients like star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and charred onion and ginger creates a complex and fragrant base that forms the foundation of the dish's delicious taste.
- Tender and Juicy Beef: Pho Tai features thinly sliced rare beef that is added to the bowl just before serving. The hot broth partially cooks the beef, resulting in tender and succulent slices of meat that melt in your mouth. The contrast between the rare beef and the hot broth adds a delightful texture and flavor to the dish.
- Rice Noodles: Pho Tai uses flat rice noodles that are cooked to perfection, offering a soft and chewy texture that complements the other ingredients in the bowl. The noodles absorb the flavors of the broth, enhancing each bite and providing a comforting and filling element to the dish.
- Customizable Condiments: Pho Tai is typically served with a platter of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and thinly sliced onions. This allows each diner to personalize their bowl by adding the desired amounts of herbs, sprouts, and lime juice, creating a balance of flavors and freshness.
Pho Tai Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Top round sirloin
- White onion
- Star anise
- Whole cloves
- Cinnamon sticks
- Vegetable broth
- Brown sugar
- Fish sauce
- Rice noodles
- Bean sprouts
See recipe card for Pho Tai Recipe quantities.
How to make Pho Tai
In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add the oil and wait for it to shimmer. Add the ginger and place the onion cut-side-down. Cook until charred, about 7-10 minutes. Remove and set on a plate.
Wipe the pot down and in the same pot on medium high heat, add the anise, cloves and cinnamon for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the onions and ginger back into the pot as well as the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Strain and dispose the onion, ginger, and spices. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and salt as needed. Add the thin slices of steak into the broth and cook for 1-3 minutes. Cook the noodles according to package instructions.
Assemble the noodles. Add the noodles in each bowl. With tongs, take the pieces of steak out of the broth and add in each bowl. Ladle the simmering hot broth into the serving bowls. Garnish with bean sprouts, limes, cilantro, jalapeños and scallions.
Hint: Toasting spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves before adding them to the broth can help unlock their aromatic qualities and intensify their flavors.
What to serve with Pho Tai
- Fresh Herbs and Vegetables: Serve a platter of fresh herbs such as Thai basil, cilantro, mint leaves, and bean sprouts alongside the Pho Tai. These can be added to the soup, enhancing the flavors and providing freshness and texture.
- Lime Wedges: Provide lime wedges for squeezing over the Pho Tai. The citrus juice adds a tangy and bright element to the soup.
- Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha: Offer hoisin sauce and Sriracha on the side as condiments. These can be added to the bowl of Pho Tai according to personal taste, allowing each person to customize the flavors to their liking.
- Chili Peppers: For those who enjoy some heat, provide thinly sliced chili peppers or chili oil as an optional spicy addition to the Pho Tai.
- Basil Fried Spring Rolls: Serve basil fried spring rolls as a crispy and flavorful appetizer or side dish to complement the Pho Tai. These rolls typically contain a mixture of ground meat, vermicelli noodles, and vegetables wrapped in rice paper and fried until golden.
- Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham): Offer a small bowl of Vietnamese dipping sauce, also known as Nuoc Cham, for those who like to dip their herbs or spring rolls. Nuoc Cham is a tangy and slightly sweet sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chili.
You need to try my Vegetable Pad Thai Recipe.
- Beef: Instead of using beef, you can substitute it with other proteins such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the proteins are cooked through.
- Broth: If you prefer a different broth base or have dietary restrictions, you can use vegetable broth, chicken broth, or mushroom broth as a substitute for the traditional beef broth. Each type of broth will impart its unique flavor profile to the dish.
- Noodles: While rice noodles are commonly used in Pho Tai, you can substitute them with other types of noodles such as wheat noodles, soba noodles, or even zucchini noodles for a low-carb option.
- Herbs: If you don't have access to specific herbs like Thai basil or cilantro, you can substitute them with other fresh herbs like mint, parsley, or green onions. The goal is to add a pop of freshness and aroma to the dish.
- Condiments: Hoisin sauce and Sriracha are commonly served with Pho Tai, but you can experiment with other condiments like soy sauce, fish sauce, chili garlic sauce, or even a dash of your favorite hot sauce to add flavor and spice.
Pho Tai Recipe Variations
These are my favorite Pho Tai Recipe variations:
- Pho Ga Tai: Pho Ga is a chicken-based version of Pho. Instead of beef, use thinly sliced chicken breast as the protein component (Tai). The rest of the recipe remains similar, including the rice noodles, aromatic broth, and traditional Pho toppings.
- Vegetarian Pho Tai: For a vegetarian version, omit the meat and use vegetable broth as the base. Load up the bowl with a variety of vegetables like mushrooms, tofu, bok choy, carrots, and snow peas. You can also add vegetarian protein substitutes like seitan or tempeh for additional texture and flavor.
- Seafood Pho Tai: Create a seafood twist by using shrimp, fish, or a combination of seafood as the protein (Tai). Prepare a seafood-based broth using shrimp shells, fish bones, and aromatic ingredients like lemongrass and ginger. Add the cooked seafood to the bowl along with the rice noodles and traditional Pho toppings.
- Stock Pot or Large Pot: A stock pot or a large pot is necessary to prepare the broth for Pho Tai. It should be big enough to hold the ingredients and allow for simmering.
- Strainer or Cheesecloth: You will need a strainer or cheesecloth to strain the broth after simmering to remove any impurities and solid ingredients.
- Cutting Board and Knife: A cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for slicing the beef thinly and preparing the fresh herbs and garnishes.
- Soup Ladle: A soup ladle will come in handy for transferring the hot broth into bowls.
- Bowls: Choose large, deep bowls to serve the Pho Tai. These should be heat-resistant and able to hold the broth, noodles, and toppings.
- Chopsticks and Soup Spoons: Traditional Pho Tai is typically enjoyed using chopsticks to pick up noodles and beef slices, and soup spoons to sip the flavorful broth.
- Optional: If desired, you can also use additional serving dishes or plates for garnishes and condiments such as lime wedges, bean sprouts, herbs, and sauces.
I love using my Caraway pots, pans and baking sheets for best quality.
How to store Pho Tai
- Separate the Components: If you have leftover Pho Tai recipe ingredients, separate the different components to store them individually. This includes the broth, noodles, and protein (thinly sliced rare beef).
- Broth Storage: Allow the broth to cool down to room temperature before storing. Transfer the broth to an airtight container and refrigerate it. Properly stored, the broth can last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. If you have a large quantity of broth, you can also freeze it in suitable containers for longer storage. Remember to leave some headspace in the container to allow for expansion if freezing.
- Noodle Storage: Cooked rice noodles tend to become soft and mushy when stored for an extended period. It's best to consume the noodles immediately. If you have leftover noodles, you can store them in a separate container in the refrigerator for a day or two. Keep them separate from the broth to prevent them from absorbing too much liquid and becoming overly soft.
- Protein Storage: If you have leftover thinly sliced rare beef, it's best to consume it immediately as it may not retain its desired texture when stored and reheated. However, if you still have some leftover beef, you can store it in the refrigerator for a day and incorporate it into other dishes like salads or stir-fries.
Pho Tai Recipe Top tips
- Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality ingredients, especially when it comes to the beef and broth. Choose fresh, thinly sliced beef for the best texture and flavor. Opt for flavorful bones, herbs, and spices to create a rich and aromatic broth.
- Simmering Time: Simmer the broth for an extended period to extract maximum flavor. This allows the bones, herbs, and spices to release their essence into the broth.
- Skimming Impurities: Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface of the broth during simmering. This helps in achieving a clear and clean broth.
- Charred Aromatics: Char the onion and ginger before adding them to the broth. This step enhances their flavors and adds a unique smokiness to the broth.
- Toasting Spices: Toasting spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves before adding them to the broth can help unlock their aromatic qualities and intensify their flavors.
- Adjust Seasoning: Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may need to add more salt, fish sauce, or other seasonings to achieve the desired balance of flavors.
- Thinly Sliced Beef: For Pho Tai, the beef should be sliced very thinly. This allows the hot broth to partially cook the beef when it's added to the bowl. Make sure to use a sharp knife and slice the beef against the grain for the best texture.
- Rice Noodles: Cook the rice noodles separately according to package instructions. Overcooking the noodles can lead to a mushy texture, so ensure they are al dente before adding them to the Pho Tai.
- Customize Toppings: Offer a variety of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and sauces as toppings. Let each person customize their bowl according to their taste preferences.
- Enjoy Hot: Serve Pho Tai piping hot. The hot broth will continue to cook the thinly sliced beef and release the aromas and flavors of the toppings.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove