How to Make Pho
The beauty of Vietnamese pho, a vermicelli noodle soup, is that it's a choose-your-own-adventure of layered, contrasting flavors. This particular recipe is a favorite of F&W's former test kitchen supervisor, Marcia Kiesel, who cooked and ate pho all over Vietnam while working on the Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking, her book with chef Binh Duong. The broth is flavored with rich, beefy oxtails, charred aromatic vegetables like onion and ginger, and a variety of spices, then spooned into bowls with the noodles. To punch up the soup's deep, meaty flavor, diners choose from a buffet of condiments and add-ins—hot Sriracha chile sauce, fragrant sesame-chile oil, lime wedges, and fresh green herbs like cilantro and basil—tailoring the exact balance of spiciness, tartness and freshness to taste.
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.