Oh my goodness, do I have a good one for you today. Authentic Instant Pot Vietnamese Pho. (Okay, so obviously it’s not totally authentic if it’s done in the instant pot. BUT, it is every bit as delicious!) Doesn’t get much better than this!
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Now, I will admit, I am a little late to the instant pot game. We just recently (very recently) were given an instant pot, and my husband has been loving it. Of all of the things that we have attempted in the instant pot so far, this is by far my favorite one. The one that we have is the big 8 quart 7-in-1 programmable instant pot. So far, it has been a lot of fun, and we have barely scratched the surface of what the machine can do. I am anxious to test out all of it’s various capabilities!
It’s a bit ironic that I can’t wait to try all of these new and different things, though. Growing up, I was not a very adventurous eater. I’m pretty sure I survived my childhood on peanut butter and jelly alone. Let’s just say I did not have a very sophisticated palate. So, when I met my husband – who is Vietnamese – it was an adventure (and a terrifying one, at that) every time I went to have dinner with his family. Ha!
One of the first Vietnamese dishes that they introduced me to, though, was beef pho. It was amazing, and fortunately, his mom continues to make it nearly every time we visit. It is a favorite among all of my brothers/sisters-in-law, as well as all of the kids – ranging from 2 years to 12 years. My incredibly picky 3 year old absolutely loves pho, and always has multiple servings.
The problem with completely authentic pho is that it literally takes 8+ hours to cook. And who has time for that?! Now, I don’t want to disillusion you, because making pho in the instant pot is still a fairly involved process. Instead of 8 hours, though, it only takes about 3-4. So, you still need a fair amount of time to prepare it, but 3-4 is way better than 8+. PLUS, this recipe makes a ton. So, you can easily eat on it for 2-3 days.
Are you ready for it?!?! Here’s the (rather extensive) list of ingredients. Most of these items can be found in your regular grocery store. Any items that you can’t find at the grocery store can be found in an Asian market or international type market. (You may be able to find the bones at the grocery store, but you will need to ask for them at the butcher counter.)
- 1 large onion
- 5 inch fresh ginger root
- 3.5 – 4 lbs marrow bones/beef knuckle/leg bones – must have marrow bones in the mix
- 3 lbs beef brisket, or chuck roast
- 6 oz. roundeye steak
- 1 package Vietnamese Beef Meatballs (Bo Vien)
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 oz. rock sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 package (approx. 14 oz) pho noodles (Banh Pho)
- 5 whole star anise pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- chopped scallions
- thin vertically sliced onions
- sliced jalapeno
- lime wedges
- thai basil
- sawtooth herb
- bean sprouts
- hoisin sauce
(I’ve tried to break it down as much as possible, and make it easy to follow.)
- Soak bones in water and 3 Tbsp. vinegar for 15 minutes. (Be sure that the water completely covers the bones.) Drain and rinse bones. Parboil the bones on the stove for about 5 minutes. Once again, drain and clean off loose bits/tendons
- Toast spices (star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, peppercorn, and coriander seeds) on stove, on medium heat, until fragrant. (This can be done while your bones are soaking.) Once the spices are toasted, tie them with a piece of cooking twine in a small square of cheese cloth. (You are essentially just making a spice bag out of cheese cloth.) Set aside.
- Peel ginger – lay and toast ginger directly on (electric) burner at medium-high/high heat until charred on all sides. This is an old school method, and you did not read that incorrectly. You actually place the ginger directly on the burner, and turn it with a pair of tongs, until it is charred on all sides. Peel the onion and do the same thing. Wrap these in cheese cloth and tie off just as you did the spices. *If you don’t have an electric burner, you can char them in the oven under the broiler.
- Now for the meat. Fill instant pot approximately half full with water. Add kosher salt and rock sugar (or brown sugar). Place all the bones and brisket (or chuck roast) into the pot with spice bag, add more water to cover the meat and bones if needed. Make sure the water doesn’t pass the max fill line. Set it to Manual/High Pressure for 40 minutes, after the timer is up and you hear the beep, wait 15 minutes then switch the knob to Venting to release the rest of the pressure. (If you like your meat more firm, set it to Manual for 35 minutes.) Remove all the meat (but leave the bones) and place into cold water to cool, then remove from water and put in refrigerator. It’s easier to slice the brisket when it has firmed up in the refrigerator.
- Now make the bone broth. Add the bag with the onion and ginger in it to the pot. Fill the pot to the max line with more water. Set it to Manual/High Pressure for 90 minutes. Once time is up and you hear the beep, wait 15 minutes, then switch the knob to Venting to release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove bones, spice bag, onion/ginger bag and discard. Get another large stovetop pot. Place cheese cloth over a colander. Place your cheese cloth covered colander over the large pot, and pour your broth into it to strain it. Skim fat off the top with a spoon.
- Put broth on the stove and turn stove to medium heat to keep broth warm. Add 1 Tbsp of fish sauce to broth. (This recipe has been left under seasoned so you can customize it to your taste. You’ll have to taste several times and keep adding salt, fish sauce and sugar a little at a time until perfectly seasoned. The broth should taste slightly salty, since it will balance out after you add the noodles. If your broth tastes bland after you add noodles, you didn’t season enough.) Then, quarter the meatballs and drop them in the broth to warm.
- Prepare the noodles according to the directions on the package. Times will be different for dry or fresh noodles. Add a portion to each serving bowl. (We prefer fresh, which you will find in the freezer section of an Asian market.)
- Finally, prepare your bowl! Slice your brisket, and place on top of each bowl. Slice thin slices of raw roundeye steak. (Placing steak in freezer for an hour ahead of time will make it easier to cut thin slices. Cut against the grain.) Top with hot broth, which will cook the steak, and garnish however you’d like! (Standard Vietnamese garnish is cilantro, chopped scallions, thai basil, lime wedge, and hoisin sauce.)
The thing that is great about pho is that you can dress it up as much or as little as you’d like. My husband loads his bowl with a bit of everything (as you can see from the photos). My daughter simply eats the noodles and the broth, and my bowl is dressed somewhere in between the two. So, you can make it exactly how you like it.
If you have the time to try this out, I would highly recommend it. Consider it a new adventure! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!