Pho-inspired broth

Listen, I am white. I have no place in writing an "authentic" Pho broth recipe. It is not part of my culture, I did not grow up with it. However, I have eaten a lot of Asian soups, including Pho, and I feel like i have a good grasp on how it can taste.

I started googling about Pho broth and other asian broths a long time ago. I learned that the secret in the velvety, smooth broths that have lots of flavour and texture is actually in the process of boiling the bones. It needs to be low, slow and with minimal bubbling to prevent the proteins breaking down in the liquid making it gloopy.

I never did try one because it seemed like such along process, and really....expensive on my stove top to be honest. 12 hours of simmering means leaving my stove on for that long, and it draws of a lot of energy.

Enter: my instant pot. Electric pressure cookers are not a new technology, however they've recently become really mainstream and who am I to deny a tool as amazing and time saving as this. 

So, for this recipe, you will need a pressure cooker. Sorry. I mean, you can try the stove top version, but you will need at least 6-8 hours of stove top simmering.



  • 2 marrow soup bones (beef)
  • 1 chicken's worth of bones + skin 
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cut in half
  • 2 white onions cut in half, skin on
  • 5 dried thai chili pods
  • 1 tsp MSG (can omit-but if you have it....use it.)
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar (red wine or apple cider will work)
  • 1/4 cup mint
  • 2" piece of ginger cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup lemongrass
  • 1 tbs black peppercorns
  • water


  • Place all ingredients in your Instant Pot.
  • Cover with water to the max fill line
  • Put on Soup setting at the highest pressure for 2 hours
  • Do a natural release
  • Strain in a strainer and leave sit over night in a glass bowl
  • The next day: skim some of the fat from the top (Leave some for the proper mouth feel of Pho), reserve in mason jar to cook vegetables or stir fry in
  • This broth will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days, or almost indefinitely if frozen. 


  • Pho varies wildly, depending on where you get it.
  • My version: has thinly sliced  raw beef laid in the bowl under a bed of rice noodles, and some thinly shaved white onions. Then I top it with the steaming broth, and sprinkle Thai basil, fresh bean sprouts and a squeeze of lemon and hot sauce. Some people would add cilantro but they're heathens and part of the problem.
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