Spices for healthy living

Faux Pho

YIELD: 4 large servings          PREP TIME: 20-25 min         COOK TIME: 40 min



  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice blend
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons beef bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon brand)
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package Kame Hong Kong Express Rice Noodles (or 5.3 ounces of cooked rice noodles)
  • 8 oz. sirloin steak, cut into ¼ inch thick pieces
  • Aleppo Pepper Flakes (to taste)
  • 1 ½ cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup diced scallions
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh Thai Basil leaves
  • 1 lime, sliced into 4 wedges
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce


Position oven rack to highest position and preheat broiler. Place onion halves and peeled ginger on a baking sheet and broil until they begin to char and blacken around the edges (about 4 minutes). Remove baking sheet from oven, flip onion and ginger, and return them to the broiler until they char on their other sides (about 4 minutes more). Remove from oven and turn of the broiler.

Heat an empty large stockpot over medium heat. Add the Chinese Five Spice Powder and toast to release its aromatics (about 10 seconds) but do not overheat it. Immediately, add the 8 cups of water and concentrated beef bouillon. Add the charred onion, ginger, smashed garlic, star anise, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until broth is fragrant and flavors concentrated, about 40 minutes or until broth is reduced to about 6 cups.

While broth is simmering, slice beef into very thin slices (¼ inch or thinner) and set aside. Heat the Kame Hong Kong Express Rice Noodles per package directions. Alternately, prepare dried rice noodles according to instructions on package.

After the broth is done simmering, strain it and then return broth to the stockpot. Keep broth hot.

When you are ready to serve the pho, place the cooked noodles into 4 bowls and place raw beef slices on top. Ladle hot broth on top to cover and cook beef.  Add Aleppo Pepper Flakes to taste. Garnish with bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, basil leaves, and lime wedges, and hoisin sauce as desired. Flavor with additional fish sauce if desired.



Chinese Five Spice

Star Anise

Aleppo Pepper Flakes