Pho: Homemade & Do-able

img_4066Whenever the gray clouds begin to roll in, and the rain drops start to fall, my tummy starts to grumble for a nice bowl of pho. When I lived next to the Durant Food Court (aka Asian Ghetto) in South Berkeley, it was really easy to fulfill this craving! When I moved to North Berkeley where the suburban neighborhood  was devoid of restaurants, I actually had to drive (!!!) to Monster Pho to fulfill my cravings.

Moving to Stanford and living on campus, I seem to find myself too far from any pho places around. PLUS, the one pho place I did try – Pho Vi Hoa – in Los Altos was the worst pho I had ever tasted! Devoid of depth of flavor – basically, the bowl was everything a pho is not supposed to be!!!!! insert sobs here

Thus, I decided to come up with my own recipe for pho. Yes, it is supposed to simmer for countless HOURS on the stove (EEEK!!!) but with the use of a crockpot, the process becomes easier.

The first time (and the successive time) I have made these, Matty and I have both devoured 2nd helpings! Try the recipe and let me know how it went! I would also love to know some of the yummy pho places around Stanford if y’all know of any!

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 2 lbs Oxtail Bones (or other Beef Soup Bones)
  • 2 onions, cut into quarters


  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pod of star anise (It is okay if you cannot find it – the soup tastes amazing without as well!)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 package of pho noodles
  • 1 lb of beef top sirloin in thin slices
  • Optional:
    • Thai Basil
    • Bean Sprouts
    • Jalapeño Peppers
    • Cilantro
    • Green Onion
    • Lime
    • Sriracha



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place oxtail bones on a baking sheet & roast for 15 minutes. Then, place the onion in the oven with the bones. Roast for an additional 45 minutes. img_4044 img_4048  IMG_4049.JPG
  3. In a large pot, place bones, onion, ginger, star anise, and fish sauce. Cover with water. Bring to a boil & let boil for 2 minutes. img_4050
  4. In a crockpot, simmer on low for 6-10 hours. Occasionally, using a spoon, skim the fat from the top.
  5. Strain the soup into a large pot once more to get out all the chunks. Make sure to get the oxtail bones out from the strainer and place back into the stock – the meat is so tender and yummy – you will want to eat it too!
  6. Boil the soup stock. When boiling, place the brisket slices to cook for 30 seconds. Turn off heat. IMG_4063.JPG
  7. Cook rice noodles according to instructions on package. Drain. IMG_4056.JPG
  8. TO SERVE:
    1. Place rice noodles in bowl.
    2. Pour soup on top!
    3. Garnish with toppings!


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