Pho must be the most well-known Vietnamese dish in the world. I sometimes wonder why pho noodle soup has become so famous while we also have a gazillion of other delicious noodle dishes in Vietnam. Don’t get me wrong, I love pho and people in my country also love pho. We are really happy to see the success of pho abroad. It’s great to see that people from different cultures with different tastes also enjoy a steamy bowl of pho with rich and hearty broth, soft noodles and tender beef (or chicken) just like us.
Vietnamese people eat pho noodle soup on a daily basis and at any time during the day, from morning to midnight. The funny thing is despite how much we rave about pho, we rarely cook it at home in Vietnam. There are street food vendors and restaurants who have pho in their menus on almost every street. I only started cooking pho when I started living abroad.
When I decided to start this food blog, I knew I would share a lot of Vietnamese recipes. However, I haven’t had a plan to write a recipe for the traditional pho beef noodle soup yet. It is already popular and there are countless pho soup recipes online. I still want to share my pho beef noodle soup recipe at some point, but before that, there are other lesser-known pho dishes I want to write about because I believe they are equally delicious.
Stir-fried pho noodles
Besides noodle soup, pho can also be stir-fried and the dish is also popular in Vietnam. It is much quicker and more simple to make than traditional pho soup. A plate of stir-fried pho can be put together in just 15 – 20 minutes. A typical stir-fried pho with beef in Vietnam contains pho (of course), beef and yu choy sum. The yu choy sum in the U.S. is not as tender as the yu choy sum in Vietnam but I have found that baby bok choy is an awesome substitute since it can stay crisp-tender in this dish.
Note: I explained the tips for stir frying beef in this post Stir-fried beef with red bell pepper and basil.
- dried Vietnamese pho noodle
- 0.8 lb beef (I like flank steak but you can use anything you like)
- 0.5 lb baby bok choy
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Cook dried pho noodle according to package instructions but take it out 1 - 2 minutes earlier than what is recommended in the instructions. Run it through cold water and mix it with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil, then set aside.
- Thinly slice the beef and marinate with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, oyster sauce and black pepper.
- Trim off the top and bottom of the onion, cut in half lengthwise and then thinly slice.
- Separate the stems of baby bok choy from the leaves. Cut the stems into thin sticks. Roll all the leaves into a cylindrical shape and also cut into thin pieces. Please see the image below for details.
- Put a pan over medium high heat. When it's hot, add some oil and sauté the onion slices for about 30 seconds, then add baby bok choy stems. Continue sautéing for another 30 seconds. Add baby bok choy leaves to the pan, add a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for about 1 more minute or just until they are almost crisp-tender. Transfer everything to a plate.
- Add pho to the pan, add 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce and mix quickly just to heat up the pho then transfer to the serving plates. Make sure the pan is hot, add some oil and the beef. Let the beef cooked undisturbed for about 30 seconds and then start stir-frying. After 1 minute or so, when the beef is 80% cooked, add the onion and baby bok choy and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce. Stir fry until everything is cooked through, top the pho with beef and veggies.
- Another way you can do the last step (same taste, just different presentation) is to stir fry the beef first. When it's 80% cooked, add the veggies back to the pan, continue stir frying and when everything is almost done, add pho and 1 teaspoon fish sauce to the pan, mix well and then transfer to your serving plates.