Active Time
1 HR
Total Time
3 HR
Serves : 6
© Earl Carter

How to Make It

Step 1    

In a large soup pot, cover the oxtails or short ribs with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain off the water. Add the 18 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Step 2    

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet. Add the onion and ginger, cut sides down, and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and ginger to the pot along with the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, rock sugar and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

Step 3    

Put the cloves, star anise and fennel seeds in a tea ball or tie them up in a piece of cheesecloth. Add them to the pot and simmer, skimming occasionally, until the oxtails are tender, about 2 hours. Strain the broth in a large sieve set over a heatproof bowl. Remove the meat from the oxtails. Refrigerate the broth and the oxtail meat separately overnight.

Step 4    

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and sesame seeds and cook for 1 minute; transfer to a bowl. Stir in the sesame oil and a pinch of salt.

Step 5    

Put the rice vermicelli in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let the vermicelli soak until pliable, about 20 minutes.

Step 6    

Skim the fat from the surface of the beef broth and discard. Bring the broth to a simmer over moderately high heat. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.

Step 7    

Place the thinly sliced raw beef in a large strainer and lower it into the simmering broth for 4 seconds; transfer the meat to 6 soup bowls. Drain the vermicelli. Working in 6 batches, put the vermicelli in the strainer and lower it into the boiling water for 30 seconds, or until the vermicelli is barely tender. Drain and transfer to the bowls. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups of the broth over each bowl of vermicelli and add the chilled oxtail meat.

Step 8    

Put each of the remaining ingredients in seperate bowls or arrange the vegetables and herbs together on a platter. Serve the soup with the condiments and the sesame-chile oil.

Make Ahead

The beef broth and oxtail meat can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The sesame-chile oil can be refrigerated overnight. Let return to room temperature before serving.


Rock sugar comes in large amber crystals and is less sweet than refined granulated white sugar. It is available at Asian markets.

Suggested Pairing

BEER A steaming bowl of flavorful, spicy, salty pho demands something cold and refreshing to drink with it: beer. In Vietnam, one could drink it with bia hoi—a term for beer brewed fresh that day, and delivered to local bars. Here in the U.S., open a bottle of Hue or "33" Export, both light Vietnamese lagers.

You May Like

Aggregate Rating value: 1

Review Count: 722

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: KristieN CareFree

Review Body: very interesting. I am Vietnamese, and I make Pho every other month or so, but I never use cloves and sesame oil, and I don't do the step 4

Review Rating:

Date Published: 2017-03-29

Author Name: Kaila Bacik

Review Body: I made this recipe with beef shank instead of ox tail and it turned out amazing! It actually is very similar to a recipe my friends mother who is vietnamese gave her. For me the chile oil is everything! It look this pho from good to crave worthy! It does make a good amount of oil so if you arent feeding a few people i might half the ratios unless you plan to use it in other dishes. Its the perfect amount of heat. Doesnt scorch your tounge and leaves a nice slow burn on the back. Highly recommended!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-10-14

Author Name: Yuki Namida Gibson

Review Body: yeah, i tried this recipe, i havnt let it sit over night yet and i havnt made the sesame chili oil yet either, my pho is very bitter, and virtually inedible, im very frusterated. i followed this recipe exactly and so far it has NOT turned out right.  I have a stomach condition and pho' seems to be the only thing i can keep down, I cant keep buying it everyday and i cant seem to get any pho' recipe to turn out right. no matter how hard i try

Review Rating:

Date Published: 2016-08-18