Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Pho recipe

I don't cook many Far Eastern dishes, not because I don't like the flavours, but because I'm unfamiliar with cooking with so many and such unfamiliar (to me) ingredients. This soup persuaded me that it didn't have to be too scary and we really enjoyed it. We had it on Halloween (I cook faster than I write!). We'd failed a little on the pumpkin front so my husband made a little lantern out of an orange which you might be able to see in the background - kind of Halloween Lite!

By the way, my all-knowing friend SkyRider (seriously, there is not a topic this guy doesn't know about, possibly in the entire world!) tells me that Pho is pronounce "Po".

Ingredients for 4:

6 cups/ 1.5 litres beef broth or stock
1 tsp chopped ginger (I use lazy ginger from a jar)
1/2 tsp 5 spice or ground star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 chopped spring (green) onions
400g/1lb flank steak/ thin sliced stir-fry beef
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 garlic clove, chopped
6 cloves

1 pack glass noodles (check serving size recommendations on different packs)

To serve:
lime wedges
bean sprouts
leaf coriander/cilantro


Put all the ingredients up to the cloves into your slow cooker and cook on Low for 8-12 hours. Check the beef is cooked before serving. The main issue here is that amount of liquid takes forever to heat up so try using the Auto setting which gives it an hour on High before going to Low for the rest of cooking time.  15 minutes before serving, chuck in the glass noodles which will cook very quickly.

Put a portion of bean sprouts into each person's bowl and serve the soup over the bean sprouts. I find my spaghetti serving spoon useful for this as it has tines round the edge. Diners can add cilantro and lime juice to taste. I always add loads as I live for contrast in my food but you may keep things one a more even-keel and add a little at a time until it's just perfect.


I loved having the crunchy bean sprouts in the hot, sour soup. The consistency was brothy but the flavour was really rich and the noodles soaked in all that great flavour. My one issue was the five spice. In one of the recipes I was working from (I took the best from two), it asked for 1 tsp which I added. The house smelt like five spice all day and it was an overpowering smell, although the taste wasn't ruined by it - it was just a little out of balance with everything else. I've adjusted it to 1/2 tsp in the recipe for those who don't read reviews but you can crank it back up if you love the taste. Five spice always needs careful handling and these complex dishes are sometimes spoilt by being bossed about by one flavour. Said as if I actually knew something about Vietnamese cuisine!


  1. I travelled across Vietnam for a month last year, and these flavours are all there. the only real difference here between Pho Bar your style and the real thing is 1 the speed at which the beef is cooked. Thin raw strips of beef are simply dropped into very hot broth, and in Vietnam they load the Pho bar with Tons of fresh oriental herbs.. the best you can do here is load it with some mint and a good handful of Greek basil to compare the fragrance.. otherwise it looks spot on!

  2. Thanks Vanesa! Really handy pointers. Like she said, guys!