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Pressure Cooker Pho

With the recent departure of Golden Monkey Cafe from Goshen, some of us may be feeling the urge to satisfy our love for Pho at home. This Vietnamese beef broth is pronounced “fuh,” and is typically served with rice noodles and a variety of fresh toppings. 

You can pick up many of these ingredients at your local Asian market, including the bean sprouts, Thai basil, mint and the meats used in this recipe. This week I was running low on time, so instead, I picked up beef bones, English beef roast and flank steak in lieu of the beef shanks and beef brisket that I could not find at Kroger. The beef shanks and ox tails will give you a more flavorful stock.

The great thing about pressure cookers is they take half the time to make, but have the flavor of food cooked low and slow. I like using pressure cookers to create multiple meals—shredded meat for the first meal, and then a wonderfully flavored broth for the next day. I did not use the beef that flavored the stock in the Pho, rather I cut the flank steak very thinly and ladled the hot broth over the raw steak and noodles. The heat from the broth will cook the steak instantly.   

Learn more about pressure cookers. 

Pressure Cooker Pho Bo
(Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
Recipe originally from Mike Vrobel via Dad Cooks Dinner 
Yields: 4 servings

Note: Broth best made day before
Special equipment: 8-12 quart pressure cooker 

Broth Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds meaty beef shanks and oxtails
  • 1 large onion, trimmed, peeled, and sliced thin
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 dried star anise pods
  • cinnamon stick (about 3-4 inches long)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup thai fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp table salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 lbs beef brisket
  • 10 cups of water, or a little more to cover the ingredients

Broth Directions

  1. Brown the beef in two batches: Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the shanks and oxtails and sear for 3 minutes per side, or until well browned. Remove the to a bowl, add the second batch of oxtails and shanks, and brown for 3 minutes per side. Add to the bowl with the rest of the beef.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Add the onions and ginger to the pot and saute for 8 minutes, or until the onions are browning around their edges. (For a more authentic taste, roast the onion and ginger over an open flame before adding to the pot.)
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients: Increase the heat to high, add 1/2 cup of water, and scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Add the browned beef and any juices in the bowl, then the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Stir to combine, then put the beef brisket on the top. Pour in the 10 cups of water, which should just cover the beef. 
  4. Pressure cook the stock: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring the cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to maintain the pressure, and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally, about 20 minutes. *Make sure you read your pressure cooker manual for the details of how to lock the cooker and bring it up to pressure. Every model does things a little differently. Also, because of all the water in the cooker, it will take longer than usual to come up to pressure and cool down.
  5. Strain the stock and slice the beef: Open the pressure cooker, and remove the beef brisket, beef shanks, and any oxtails with a lot of meat on them to a carving board. Strain the stock into another pot through a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth. Slice the brisket crosswise, against the grain, into thin slices. Pull and shred the meat from the shanks and oxtails, removing any big hunks of fat and gristle. Save shredded pork for another meal.
  6. Store the stock in an airtight container overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. Once the fat and stock have separated, remove fat and discard.

Pho Ingredients

  • 1 lb thin rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 lb raw flank steak, thinly sliced
  • prepared Pho broth to cover

Condiments and add-ins

  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves (thai basil is best, but any basil will do)
  • 1 large shallot, trimmed, peeled, sliced thin, and soaked in water (helps ease intensity of the raw onion)  
  • 2- serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced thin (thai bird chilies if you can find them)
  • Limes, cut into wedges
  • Sriracha hot sauce (or other asian hot sauce)
  • thai fish sauce
  • soy sauce
  • hoisin sauce


  1. Heat broth to a boil.
  2. Divide cooked rice noodles and the raw flank steak to individual bowls. 
  3. Ladle the hot broth over the flank steak to cook, filling bowls half-way. 
  4. Add toppings as desired. 


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