- 1 kg beef marrow bones, cut into 3 pieces
- 1 kg beef short ribs
- 1 kg oxtail cut into 2cm pieces
- 800 gm beef brisket
- 2 onions, halved
- 150 gm piece ginger, halved through the centre
- 10 star anise
- 4-5 cinnamon quills
- 5 cardamon pods
- 5 cloves
- 1½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp caster or rock sugar, to taste
- 100 ml fish sauce, or to taste, plus extra to serve
- 800 gm piece of beef rump
- Spring onions, thinly sliced white onion, thinly sliced coriander, to season
- Bean sprouts, Thai basil, mint, sawtooth coriander (see note), lemon or lime cheeks, and thinly sliced chillies, to serve
- 1 kg fresh banh pho (flat rice noodles) or 800gm dried pad Thai noodles, blanched
- Hoisin and chilli sauces, for dipping
- 1Rinse marrow bones, short ribs, oxtail and brisket (or chicken and chicken carcasses for pho ga) under cold running water, then carefully add them to a stockpot or large saucepan of boiling water. Return to the boil, then strain (discard water) rinse meat and bones under cold running water.
- 2Preheat a heavy-based frying pan and grill onions and ginger until charred (5-7 minutes).
- 3Dry-roast spices until fragrant (5 minutes), then tie in a piece of muslin.
- 4Bring 7.5 litres water to the boil in a large saucepan or stockpot, add meat and bones (or chicken and carcasses; see note), onion and ginger, then season with sugar and 2 tbsp salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, skimming often, until well flavoured, transferring brisket to refrigerator after 1 hour of cooking (2½-3 hours or longer for deeper flavour). Add spices and stand to infuse (1 hour).
- 5Remove meat and bones from stock (discard ribs) and plunge in cold water to cool, then refrigerate until required. Thinly slice brisket across the grain and set aside. Scoop out bone marrow and break oxtail meat into small pieces and reserve to serve.
- 6Strain broth then return 6 litres (freeze remaining) and the ginger and spice bag to a clean saucepan, add fish sauce, bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
- 7Thinly slice beef rump, and thinly slice spring onion tops and cut white ends into small batons.
- 8Arrange bean sprouts, herbs, lime or lemon cheeks, and sliced chillies on a plate.
- 9Divide noodles among bowls then, working with a portion at a time, blanch by plunging into boiling water (5 seconds), then return to bowls. Top with sliced beef, spring onion, white onion and coriander, ladle in hot broth and stir. Serve hot with oxtail meat, bone marrow, bean sprouts, herbs, lemon or lime cheeks, chillies and sauces.
For chicken pho, omit the cinnamon and cardamom. In step four cool the whole chicken in a bath of iced water after cooking for 30 minutes, drain and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Slice meat with skin on, refrigerate, return carcass to stock, bring to the boil, then strain, discarding bones. Serve with chicken. Sawtooth coriander is available from select supermarkets and Thai grocers.