Faux Pho Bo for the Keys To The Kitchen Virtual Dinner Party!



Recently, I had the pleasure and great honor of meeting Aida Mollenkamp in person at a party for her new cookbook, Keys to the Kitchen, right here in Seattle. She was on her book tour, traveling through cities with her lovely book in tow. I have been a fan of Aida’s for some time now.  . . back when she debuted on the Food Network in 2008. .  I was watching along as she answered questions and cooked up a storm on Ask Aida. My daughter’s favorite episode is CHOCOLATE where Aida makes a no bake double chocolate tart, chocolate covered bananas and hot chocolate. Did I say chocolate?


In person, Aida is not only charming and beautiful, but she’s funny, open and easy to talk to. What I loved most about listening to her speak that night was the passion, devotion, and you could tell- every ounce of her being went into writing this cookbook- just oozing from her.  This cookbook is truly the product of something she had been envisioning for a while and she poured her heart and soul into this book. She made sure she covered as much information/material she could in order to help equip us home cooks.




The “math” formula above is the first thing you see when you open this amazing cookbook. I absolutely love how she set this book up:


  1. The Set-Up (Know What to Buy, Mastering the Store: Section by Section, Store it Right, and Equip Yourself)
  2. The How-To (B.C. Before Cooking, Fundamental Prep Techniques, Fundamental Recipes)
  3. The Recipes (you’re going to have to buy the book for these!)
  4. The Riff (Mastering the Meal, Cooking from the Hip, The Aftermath)


The Set-up section of this book was extremely informative for me. Under Know What to Buy, Aida includes a Label Lingo glossary to help you understand all those words you now see on everything like Artisanal, GMOS, Grain-fed, Sustainable and many more. I’ll admit. this helped me a ton!


Under Mastering the Store: Section by Section, Aida tells you what not to buy, how to buy eggs and pick prime produce. Hell, there’s a Seasonality Chart in here! I love this! There’s a ton more but I’m not giving away anymore. You must buy this book for yourself.  “Whether you’re a curious beginner or intermediate cook, this cookbook will help you conquer your kitchen. And then your cooking can become adventurous, creative and fun.” Isn’t this amazing? Isn’t this what we all want? I love that this cookbook can be for everyone.


Oh and there’s a Meatless Mains section! Great for those Meatless Mondays y’all. Word. Love this. I seriously will be cooking every single recipe in this section.


As I was flipping through this cookbook, my heart fluttered. .  I came upon a recipe for Cheat Sheet Beef Pho (Faux Pho Bo).  Ever since I had Pho for the first time, while in college, in Austin TX, I have always wanted to try to re-create this Vietnamese beef broth noodle soup at home myself. And you would have thought that my horrible Pho dining experiences in Austin would have deterred me. Not to gross anyone out but they didn’t always have the cleanest bean sprouts, cilantro, fresh mint garnishes available. And even when I said something ONE time, my server simply told me that it’s impossible to clean everything and to get everything off the leaves. Needless to say, I never returned to that particular Pho establishment.  But again, just glad that experience didn’t stop me.


Aida’s Faux Pho Bo is wonderful. She calls this a shortcut version but this is the real deal yo. It’s pretty damn good. Her recipe is legit. And this is the first time I’ve cooked with star anise pieces. Loved it.


Faux Pho Bo
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


My butcher could not thinly slice my steak meat so he cut it into as thin a slice as he could and I cut all the meat into strips. I let my broth simmer for the full 3 hours baby (patience is a virtue) because I wanted the richer flavor. You can just cook your broth for 30-50 minutes for a lighter broth. Or, if you go for the full 3 hours like I did and the flavor is too rich for you, just add some water towards the end and taste. COOK TIME: Minimum – about 1 hour to maximum 3 hours, 30 mins
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Serves: 6

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, halved
  • One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, skinned and halved
  • 4 quarts beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise pieces (only put in 3)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • ⅓ cup fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1-2 cups water (optional; I added mine towards the end after I tasted the broth)
  • One 12-ounce package flat rice noodles or brown rice noodles (I love Annie Chun’s brown rice noodles. I have only found these at Whole Foods)
  • 1 lb. flank steak, London broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thin as possible or cut into strips
  • 2-3 Thai chiles, trimmed and thinly sliced (for heat)
  • 2-3 handfuls of bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch fresh Thai basil
  • 1 bunch fresh mint or mint medley
  • 1 white onion, sliced paper thin
  • Sriracha sauce, for serving
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and caramelized, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add all the remaining broth ingredients and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until the broth is infused with flavors, at least 30 minutes, for a very light flavor, and up to 3 hours for a richer flavor. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce, salt or sugar as needed. (Because you are going to add unsalted ingredients/garnish at the end, go ahead and make this broth a touch salty.) Strain the broth and set aside until ready to use.
  1. Return the broth to the pot and place over medium-high heat. When the broth simmers, add the meat. The meat will cook almost instantaneously because it is sliced thin or cut into thin strips. About 2-3 minutes later, add the brown rice noodles and cook according to package directions or until tender (should be about 4-5 minutes only).
  2. Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients on a serving platter. When ready to eat, fill the soup bowls with the noodles and the meat. Ladle broth into each bowl, serve and let guests garnish the pho to their liking.
  3. Alternatively, if you are able to get your meat sliced super thin, you can save it and at the end, fill the soup bowls with the noodles and top with the raw meat slices. Ladle the broth and serve.





To help celebrate the official release date of Aida’s cookbook- Wednesday, 10/24- we are having a week long Virtual Dinner Party!  We’ve got some rather entertaining eaters, fellow foodie people, and food bloggers, pulling up a chair and bringing some delicious recipes, so visit their sites as they post recipes this week and enjoy!


Bev Cooks – Dixie Caviar – Edible Joy – Edible Living – Family Fresh Cooking – Girl Hunter – Heather Christo Cooks – Hip Foodie Mom – Hola Jalapeño –  Ladles and Jellyspoons – Love & Lemons – Matt Bites –  Shutterbean – Sprouted Kitchen –Southern Girls Kitchen – Stir and Scribble –  Tartlet Sweets – The Culinary Life– Three Many Cooks – Turntable Kitchen – Two Peas and Their Pod – Vanilla Garlic – Weelicious – What’s Gaby Cooking – With Style & Grace


Where to Buy “Keys to the Kitchen”

Hit up one of the following and you will thank me and Aida forever. 




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22 Responses to "Faux Pho Bo for the Keys To The Kitchen Virtual Dinner Party!"

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  1. aida mollenkamp

    October 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Alice — Thanks so much for spreading the word about “Keys To The Kitchen!” I’m so happy that this pho was a better experience for you than those questionable joints you ate at back in college.

    • hipfoodiemom

      October 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Haha, thank you Aida! :) I will keep spreading the word!

  2. Pingback: You're Invited: Keys To The Kitchen Virtual Dinner Party | Aida Mollenkamp

  3. REMCooks.com

    October 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Love it! Baby Lady and I love pho noodles. Gonna have to try this.

    • hipfoodiemom

      October 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Richard, yes, you must try this and get the cookbook! Let me know how the Pho turns out for you!

  4. Jackie @ The Beeroness

    October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Awesome! I’m a huge fan of real life print cookbooks (I’ll never own an Ecookbook) and I tend to gravitate more of the How To books rather than just regular recipe books. I have to check this book out, it’s exactly how I like my cooking books.

    • hipfoodiemom

      October 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Jackie, me too! You will seriously LOVE this cookbook! I hope you get it!

  5. Linda | The Urban Mrs

    October 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I seriously need this now. The weather has been cold and rainy, so this is the best recipe to cure these muddy days. I love Aida, been watching her on TV.

    • hipfoodiemom

      October 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Linda, you need to buy this cookbook! It’s not only a cookbook but a reference manual for us home cooks. It’s freakin’ awesome. I can’t say enough about it.

  6. Meghan

    October 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Alice – I’m so delighted to meet you via the Virtual Dinner party. I hope to be a hip foodie mama too. Also Seattle is my hometown.

    My husband has already tagged and requested that Faux Pho Bo and we will be making it so soon!

    • hipfoodiemom

      October 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Meghan! Nice to meet you too! :) I see on Pinterest that you are a new mom? How old is your baby? You and your husband will love this Pho!

      Hope to see you/meet you at the next Foodie event?

  7. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    October 25, 2012 at 4:48 am

    This book sounds fantastic! It’s on my to-buy list, along with Dorie’s Around My French Table. And seriously – this faux pho is just what I need on these dark, rainy, cold west coast days! I’m literally drooling looking at your photos. I love pho and this recipe sounds like a total winner. Thanks for sharing!

    • hipfoodiemom

      October 25, 2012 at 5:09 am

      Thanks, Nancy! Yes!! get the cookbook! I’m posting Indian burritos with curried cauliflower from it tonight. . seriously, so many good recipes, a reference guide and tips! It has everything.

  8. Sandra's Easy Cooking

    October 25, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Sounds like a awesome cookbook. Your Pho Bo looks so comforting… Great recipe and delicious pics!

  9. girl in a food frenzy

    October 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Looks every it as fantastic as I’d expect of a Pho! Loving the look of the book to, will need to keep my eyes open for that one on the shelves here in Aus. No doubt it’s getting a little cooler and in need of nourishment and warming foods for the body and soul. :)

  10. girl in a food frenzy

    October 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Looks every bit as fantastic as I’d expect of a Pho! Loving the look of the book to, will need to keep my eyes open for that one on the shelves here in Aus. No doubt it’s getting a little cooler and in need of nourishment and warming foods for the body and soul. :)

  11. Pingback: Chile-Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs | Paleo, Grain Free recipe on FamilyFreshCooking.com — Family Fresh Cooking

  12. Thanh @ eat, little bird

    October 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    This looks delicious! I think Pho would have to be one of my favourite Vietnamese noodle dishes. Whenever I make it, I make a HUGE pot which we will help ourselves to for 2 or 3 nights in a row, never getting tired of it.

    I had guessed that the “faux” part of this recipe was using shop-bought beef stock. But if you are already prepared to cook this broth for 3 hours, I would suggest that you make it with some oxtail or beef bones next time (about 1 to 1.5 kg), along with the other ingredients listed, and you will then have your own homemade Pho stock :-)

  13. Pingback: Very Fun Virtual Dinner Party! | Aida Mollenkamp

  14. Posy Quarterman

    November 4, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Yum! I’m totally going to try this. Oh, and it was nice to meet you tonight! PQ

    • hipfoodiemom

      November 4, 2012 at 6:01 am

      Thank you, I hope you do! It was great meeting you too! :)

  15. Pingback: Kicking off 2013 with Rosemary Olive Oil Bread for #TwelveLoavesHip Foodie Mom | Hip Foodie Mom

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