My Little Chequered Kitchen

Quick & Easy Beef Pho …


“I very very much dislike this contemporary attitude that cooking makes you a better person, people who feel they are superior because they can cook … Anyone can cook for their own sustenance.  And I do think at the moment there is an awful lot of smugness that goes on about people who cook as if it makes them better people, and it really really doesn’t”  

- Nigella Lawson, College Tour, NTR Television


As much as I love cooking – and that entails the whole process from deciding what to eat and planning a week’s menu, which usually involves pouring over a couple of cookbooks for inspiration before making my shopping list, right through to the actual process of preparing the ingredients and creating a delicious dish – I don’t particularly enjoy anything about coming in the door at 6.30 pm in the evening and rushing to prepare something healthy and edible in time for a hungry Meneer Prins who will be walking through the door as well any minute from and counting.  On those weeknights, I just simply want to eat. And it’s for that reason that I’m always on the lookout for healthy, quick and easy meal ideas that I can throw together without much thought.  This recipe is one of those. 


Beef Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a popular street-food dish in Vietnam.  If you wanted to make it as authentically as possible, then you need to give a lot of attention to making a flavoursome broth or stock, using meat bones and charred ginger and onion.  But for the purpose of a quick and easy weekday meal, just a stock cube will do.  Of course, if you are in the habit of making beef stock and freezing it, then pull some out of the freezer in the morning before heading off for your busy day.  

Another cheat in this recipe is the use of Chinese five spice mix, which includes all the main spices used to make a pho broth anyway.  If you wanted to make your own ground spice mix, then you would use ground coriander seeds, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground cardamon pods, and ground fennel seeds.   

This recipe has been adapted from Annabel Langbein’s Beef Pho in her book “Free Range in the City”.  It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally managed to complete my Annabel Langbein book collection and I’ve very much happy that I spend the money to have them shipped all the way over from her New Zealand bookstore.  Why they aren’t available on Amazon I do not know.  But click here if you are interested in ordering “Free Range in the City” online.  


Quick & Easy Beef Pho
Serves 2
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
100g dried rice vermicelli (glass noodles)
1 1/2 litre beef stock
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice mix
pinch of ground cloves
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf (available in the Netherlands at any good toko store)
8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
100-150g beef (I use a tender cut of steak) sliced as thinly as possible across the grain
2 spring onions, sliced into thin strips or matchsticks (julienne)
1 medium carrot, sliced into thin strips or matchsticks (julienne)
handful of mung beans (tauge)
1 lime, cut in half
to serve ...
coriander leaves
Pop the vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Place the beef stock, fish sauce, Chinese five spice mix, cloves, grated ginger, chili, kaffir lime leaf, mushrooms, and the bruised lemongrass stalk (use a rolling pin to bash it, or some other such blunt object) into a large pot and bring to the boil before simmering for 5 minutes.
While the broth is coming to the boil, prepare the rest of the ingredients - slice the steak into finely cut strips and make sure you slice across the grain (this makes it more tender when eating) and slice the carrot and spring onions into thin strips or matchsticks (julienne).
Next, drain the vermicelli noodles in a colander, and divide into two fairly large serving bowls. Place the beef strips evenly on top of the noodles.
Once the broth is ready, remove the lemongrass stalk and the kaffir lime leaf. Use a soup ladel to slowly pour spoonfuls of the broth over the steak. The heat from the broth will be sufficient to very quickly cook the thin slices of steak. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over each bowl, and top with the carrot, spring onion, mung beans (tauge), a handful of coriander leaves and a good sprinkle peanuts.
Eet Smakelijk!!
Monique xx
Approximate WeightWatchers ProPoints value per serve: 7
Adapted from Annabel Langbein
Adapted from Annabel Langbein
My Little Chequered Kitchen


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