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Quick Beef Pho Recipe with Quoc Viet Foods' Pho Soup Base  

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chuynh
Posts: 441
(@chuynh)
Pho Restaurant Consultant
Joined: 11 years ago

@Steven: Based on the additional information, here are some additional feedback for you:

- The spice in water test should be just that, testing some spices in boiling water in a small sauce pan just so you see what color you get. This is for your own understanding of how these ingredients behave and how they affect the liquid color. I wouldn't just continue to make your pho from this. Instead of using pre-made bags, you may consider buying your own spices and mix them yourself. This way you know exactly what you use.

- 23 quart pot is not very large, especially with bones and other things in there, but it should be fine for home cooking. Just be aware that, for such small pot, any change you make may become more magnified and exaggerated than you may intend to.

- The instant flavoring may have contributed to your color, but without knowing what it is, it's hard to say.

- Regarding the bones, if you haven't done so, I suggest you have them cut into 2 inch long pieces. This will expose more marrow for more flavor quicker.

- During blanching, I would not just simmer the bones and the meat (like flank and/or brisket, if you use any). I would boil it at the highest boil you can for 5-10 minutes, then discard the water and wash the bones and meat. This is the time to get all the dirty stuff out of both the bones and the meat, and this is the way to do it. Otherwise, you're not getting much junk off at slow simmering.

- For the charred ginger and onions, it's not necessary to clean off the black/burned stuff. The black stuff actually contributes to your broth's flavor, and they don't add much color if at all. You said you filter the broth afterward so that is perfectly fine.

The bottom line is to have fun finding what you want, but you want to do it with the proper knowledge in order to say on track. I hope these tips help. Happy hunting.

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Steven
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Thanks for the advice! I'll try it again this time with your suggestions. Until then, I have to finish the big pot of hu tieu in my kitchen.

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chuynh
Posts: 441
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Joined: 11 years ago

Let me know how it goes the next time you try it again @Steven. Looks like you're very busy cooking good stuff in your kitchen there.

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Ramen King
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 Ramen King
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Its look like a duck, walk like a duck, quack like a duck, it is a duck! There are many companies out there making much better tasting products than this company with better flavors. Someone commented in amazon this product smell like fish food. Also I heard this company put dead people bone in their soup base. No lie. do your research.

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chuynh
(@chuynh)
Joined: 11 years ago

Pho Restaurant Consultant
Posts: 441

@Ramen King: no lie, and also no links or references? It would be helpful to share the sources where you got your info from. If you spent the time to make a serious point, then you might as well spend some extra seconds to share some back up references. If you know of better products then by all means please share.

Dead people's bones? Are you still living some place where baseless stupid rumors are still taken seriously?

Or maybe you're associated with people who lost the lawsuit to Quoc Viet a few months back? I get no benefit from Quoc Viet, but I'm just saying.

I'll leave this comment on here so readers can make their own conclusion about your contribution. Any future comment of the same nature will be taken down.

And thanks for visiting Lovingpho.com.

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amber
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anh cuong - we LOVE your amazing PHO wisdom and knowledge!

we will in Australia and they don't carry Quoc Viet here :((((
but we brought back some from trip to USA

I will use QV's beef base tomorrow.
1) do you recommend adding fish sauce and rock sugar at the end?
2) I made QV's chicken pho with coconut sugar. Would coconut sugar be okay substitute for rock sugar in the beef base?
3)what containers do you freeze leftover broth in? do you also freeze the meat, too?
4) 10 Quarts is enough for 4 people or 20? I was confused on that.
For us, 1 tub of base is enough for 10 servings

THANK YOU !!!

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3 Replies
chuynh
(@chuynh)
Joined: 11 years ago

Pho Restaurant Consultant
Posts: 441

Hi Amber,

You didn’t say whether this is your first time ever making pho. Having some experience making it would definitely help. I don’t know of anyone achieving good pho making it the fist time. It is a process where you have to adjust to your own personal taste and preferences. With that said here are some answers to your questions:

1. By default, Quoc Viet soup base should already contain fish sauce and amounts of sugar they determine to be “typical” for pho. As you should always adjust to taste at the end of any cooking, I’d recommend trying without adding extra fish sauce and sugar, and adjust at the end.

2. I’m not familiar with coconut sugar. Some people say it tastes like brown sugar but I’m not sure if that’s accurate. If coconut sugar is acceptable to you in chicken pho, then I don’t see why you can’t use it in beef pho. For me, I’d make sure it does not add any “strange” aftertaste or flavor.

3. You should be able to use any container that’s freezer-safe. Most freezer-safe plastic containers do say so on the outside. You can also use freezer-safe zip-lock bags. Obviously you don’t want to use glass products. If you use metal products then it will deform as the liquid expands while it freezes. There are many other tricks and suggestions for freezing liquids in home use. I’ll just share one with you here: the flatter and smaller portions you freeze your liquid, the faster you can safely defrost it.

With respect to the meat, I assume you mean the cooked meat and not the uncooked one. But either way, yes you can freeze meat too.

4. For home cooked pho, the portion size depends on the size of the bowl you use. For a 10-quart yield, or 320 fl-oz., if you use 32 fl-oz of broth per bowl (this is huge bowl typically used in restaurants) then you’d get 10 bowls. If your bowls are smaller then you’d get more bowls out of it obviously. It depends on your situation. If you say 1 tub of base is enough for 10 servings for you, then that’s fine. Though it still says nothing about your yield (how much final liquid you actually got after final adjustments when all cooking was done) and your bowl size.

Hope the above help.

By the way, in my personal opinion, Quoc Viet can do a better job on marketing and distributing their products.

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amber
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Posts: 7

hi cuong

sorry, I thought I mentioned in my number 2) that I made QV's chicken pho before using coconut sugar ... but I've never made QV's beef pho 🙂

we LOVE QV's chicken pho base ... it's so so so easy ... ready within 1 hour from prep to table

so I made QV's beef pho, using rock sugar I found at the Vietnamese store here. it took me 3 hours. it just didn't taste good to me. we've never had issues with the chicken base (no MSG headaches, metallic taste, bloatedness) ... but sadly, all 4 of us didn't feel well afterwards ... and the broth was not as tasty.

it was my first time using the beef base, but I think I'm just going to stick to the chicken base from now on

I do have a jar of the bun bo hue base ... if you or any readers have advice on using that base, please chime in!!!

also, I emailed QV, and they said they will soon have distributors in Australia ... YAY !!!

thanks anh cuong!!!

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chuynh
(@chuynh)
Joined: 11 years ago

Pho Restaurant Consultant
Posts: 441

Hi Amber,

Yes I'm aware you've used coconut sugar to make chicken pho. That's why I also said in #2: "If coconut sugar is acceptable to you in chicken pho, then I don’t see why you can’t use it in beef pho."

I'm sorry to hear your first beef pho was not good and you didn't feel well afterward. In my experience I don't expect anyone to make good beef pho the first time, or even the second time. I don't know what kind of beef you used and how you prepared and cooked it. For a lot of people it takes practice to get the broth right and the meat tenderized correctly, as they learn to make adjustments with each successive pot.

I wish you better luck next time.

Cheers!

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Brittany
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I was recently at our local Oriental grocery store and came across these products on a shelf. I've only had pho a handful of times and have loved it. We have California Pho (a franchise, I believe) here and Honestly I have no idea how authentic it is or if it is actually 'good' pho.....but I have really enjoyed it every time! I bought the beef flavor and was excited but nervous to use it and was so happy to come across this blog prior to actually making it! I think I ended up reading the whole comment thread. Even though the recipe is on the container, I found this and many of the comments very helpful in making a successful....pho tai chin? I think? I made my pho with brisket and thinly sliced sirloin....my fiance was super confused when I put slices of raw beef in the bowl prior to adding the hot broth but once it cooked before his eyes he understood! I'm not a fan of sprouts but am trying to incorporate a lot of veggies in my meals, so even though it may not be proper, I added thinly sliced pepper rings and baby bok choy to my bowl. I'd say it turned out comparable to what I've had at the pho restaurant nearby.

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chuynh
(@chuynh)
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Hi Brittany: Wow success the first time out! Congrats!

This is the exact reason why I wrote posts like this one. I always maintain that if one pays attention to details, and has a real desire to do it, then he/she can make at least a decent pot of pho to enjoy at home. Then it will only get better from there. And Quoc Viet helps make it easier to start out. Thanks for sharing!

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Brittany
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Thank you! I do a lot of cooking and find that it comes naturally for me. This was a first for Vietnamese cuisine, however, so I was especially impressed. I'll be sticking with Quoc Viet for future pho 🙂

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chuynh
(@chuynh)
Joined: 11 years ago

Pho Restaurant Consultant
Posts: 441

There you go Brittany. You're a clear proof of what I've been preaching: anyone can make pho at home, and for those with cooking experience or who love cooking, the experience is over the top. There's nothing like eating a delicious bowl of pho AND knowing exactly how it was made AND what went into it AND how you may make it even better next time.

Bonus: If you've made a decent size batch and stored/froze it away, then you can have pho any time over the next days and weeks without really paying for it. That, for me, is just icing on the cake (just to stick with the food theme). LOL.

Cheers!

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Julie Sherlock
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Because I live 100 miles from the nearest Vietnamese restaurant, I've learned to make pho myself, and I use the QV soup base exclusively. The big key is to make sure you rise your bones and beef and rinse the pot out before after boiling, and starting with fresh water to get that nice clear broth. I've also read that it's best to use the beef "knuckle" bones, but I can't find them in my area. Instead I use the traditional beef shank-type bones and dig the marrow out of them. This also helps to keep the broth clear. Thai basil grows beautifully in my area of northern Michigan and it's a really nice extra treat when I can have that fresh in my pho! Thanks for such a nice blog. I've enjoyed reading this!

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chuynh
(@chuynh)
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Posts: 441

Hi Julie: The soup base itself does have marrow flavors cooked in so that people don't have to use bones and save time in the process. If you're adding bones then I'd assume you want a lot more beefy taste. But then if you remove the marrow before cooking then you're not getting the real "pho" flavor. Also, you didn't say how long you simmer the bones, but if you're not cooking them long enough then using bones at all is kind of a moot point regardless of whether you dig out the marrow. Even at an hour of cooking you're probably not getting much flavors out of any beef bones. So I'm curious why you use QV pho soup base AND adding bones too, and how long you keep the bones simmering.

In the end I'm glad you find ways that work for you. By the way, growing your own Thai basil is great but northern MI is not too forgiving in the cold months. There are things that can only exist in the warmer climate. I ran a pho restaurant in Missoula MT and it was pretty rough to even acquire it from out of state.

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Julie Sherlock
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I use the base because, well, I'm still intimidated about toasting the appropriate spices! I use the bones because I think it adds a beefier flavor than just the base alone. I also char my ginger and onion. Here's the website I'd read about removing the marrow from to make a clearer broth, thus, my rationale. https://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-pho-recipe.html I simmer the bones about three hours.

I can only grow Thai basil in the summer months. Incredibly, in my sandy Lake Michigan soil, it grows really well. Better than Italian basil! I end up just settling for other herbs in the winter.

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chuynh
(@chuynh)
Joined: 11 years ago

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Posts: 441

Thanks for clarifying Julie. I understand what you’re doing now.

Personally I think you’re overdoing it, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Allow me to explain with a few additional clarifications and tips.

Firstly, it’s apparent that you are mixing 2 different recipes together. One is the QV Pho Soup Base as described on its label and expanded further in this post, the other is Jaden Hair’s recipe from steamykitchen.com, which is the recipe you referenced in your previous reply. Normally people use one recipe or the other, and only mix up elements from different recipes when they’re not happy with what they got and know how to make adjustments to create something new.

Jaden’s recipe is a standalone pho recipe that does not need any other enhancement. It is making pho from scratch and it is a solid recipe listed as one of my recommended pho recipes ( https://www.lovingpho.com/pho-chefs-recipes/top-pho-recipes/ ).

On the other hand QV’s recipe is printed on its label. The key reason for QV Pho Soup Base to exist is to allow people to skip the long simmering time of the bone and marrow (as called for in recipes like Jaden’s), and still get the right bone and marrow taste in pho. This is helpful especially for those who’ve never made pho before or don't want to spend the time simmering bones. A secondary utility of QV Soup Base is to be used to help enhance another recipe.

So most people use either a standalone recipe (Jaden’s or any other) or the QV Pho Soup Base. There are some (like you Julie) who choose to add QV Pho Soup Base to their made-from-scratch-with-bones broth to further enhance flavors. The important thing to understand is you are now creating a third recipe that combines ingredients from 2 original recipes. And once you start doing this, there are a number of things that will also need to be adjusted, including amount of water, rock sugar, fish sauce, spices, etc. In essence the formula/recipe is changed. If you haven't already done so, I think you should write down "Julie's pho recipe" so that you can consistently reproduce it in the future, or further improve on it.

I think you may have misread Jaden’s (and many of her readers’) comments about bone marrow. Everything she says on her blog about bone marrow is totally correct, but there’s no mentioning of removing the marrow to make a clear broth. Below are some sample comments about bone marrow she wrote throughout her article:

“If I have a lot of marrow bones, I’ll scoop out the marrow with a small spoon or knife and discard after the par-boiling (see below). Having too much marrow will give you a greasy film on your pho broth.”

“If you have a lot of marrow bones, and don’t scoop out the marrow, it’s ok.”

“But some marrow is beneficial…. don’t get rid of it all!”

“Fat & marrow bits = good eats. Try to keep that in the broth!”

It is true that bone marrow produces a lot of fat, but also as Jaden’s noted, if you let it sit to cool then you can crack and remove the fat "shell" on top of the broth. We all know fat and water don’t mix, and fat always floats to the top. If you must have absolutely completely perfectly unconditionally clear broth, then parboiling and simmering stages would take care of that issue for you (if done right).

I should add an important note here: When you store the broth at room temperature, in the fridge or in the freezer, the fat layer on top actually protects the broth from interacting with the air. This layer acts to preserve the broth from going bad too soon and prevent if from becoming darker in color over time. So the fatty/marrowy top layer gives you many benefits aside from the fact that it makes your pho super delicious.

In the end, if you’re already simmering the bones for 3 hours, then I think you can skip the soup base and go all from scratch (as per Jaden’s recipe), and get awesome pho broth with less money out of pocket. Or if you decide to go through all the simmering AND also add QV Pho Soup Base, then you’ll want to add more water to achieve the proper taste. The net effect of the latter is you get a larger yield, thus more pho broth for the same amount of time spent cooking. Awesome right? Actually this is exactly what some pho restaurants do every day.

It’s a long reply so it's time for me to stop. Happy pho cooking and eating!

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