My family always uses this shrimp pho recipe. I've added a few modern cooking techniques to build upon its already full-bodied flavor. The stock can be made ahead to save time on the day you'd like to serve it. —Terry Nguyen, Lawrenceville, Georgia
Optional garnishes: Thinly sliced green onions, sliced red onion, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, fried sage leaves, hoisin sauce, sriracha chili sauce and basil oil
In a stockpot, cover oxtails with 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange onions and ginger on a baking sheet. Broil 4 in. from the heat until charred, 5-8 minutes, turning once. Peel off and discard charred skin from onion and ginger. In a dry skillet over medium heat, cook and stir spices until fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Drain and discard water from oxtails; return oxtails to clean pan. Cover with 3 quarts water. Stir in onions, ginger, toasted spices, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 6 hours. While cooking, add water to keep oxtails covered with water. Remove oxtails and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard bones. Set beef aside for soup or save for another use. Strain stock through a cheesecloth-lined colander, discarding solids. If using immediately, skim fat. Or, refrigerate 8 hours or overnight; remove fat from surface. Broth can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen 4 to 6 months.
For the shrimp, in a shallow dish, combine oil, fish sauce, sriracha, lime zest and oregano. Add shrimp and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Drain and discard marinade. Arrange shrimp on a 15x10x1-in. baking sheet. Bake until shrimp turn pink, 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large saucepan, bring stock to a boil. If desired, season stock with additional fish sauce, salt and pepper. To serve, add noodles and, if desired, beef to serving bowls. Cover with stock. Arrange shrimp and garnishes as desired.
Pho Recipe Tips
What is traditionally served with pho?
Pho is traditionally served with thick rice noodles (known as banh pho) and topped with garnishes like green onions, cilantro and lime wedges. (Have extra noodles on hand? Use them up in these recipes that use rice noodles!)
What makes a good pho?
Making a good pho boils down to mastering the perfect pho stock, which is traditionally made with boiled oxtail and seasoning. Then add fresh veggies, shrimp and noodles to give more texture and substance to this Vietnamese specialty. Follow more of our tips on how to make pho.
How do you make pho more flavorful?
This pho recipe is already packed with flavor! But if you want to add an extra kick, top the dish with equal parts Sriracha and hoisin sauce. However, pho purists may want to stick to adding more veggies or garnishes to level up the flavor.
Research contributed by Christina Herbst, Taste of Home Assistant Digital Editor