I decided to jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon recently. I just couldn’t resist the Amazon prime day deal. One of the things I really wanted to try making in it was pho. Considering that I usually start my pho broth the day before I plan to eat it when I cook it on the stovetop; I was ecstatic at the fact that I’d be able to enjoy it the same day and with oxtail cooked within 45 minutes. So let’s see how it’s done.
You need to char your onions and ginger. If you have a gas stove top then you can easily do it over that. I don’t, so I opt to broil them in my toaster oven. Peel and slice an onion in half and peel about a 2″ piece of ginger in half. Broil for about 10-15 minutes until charred.
Meanwhile, toast your spices. I have a black cardamom pod, a cinnamon stick, 4 star anise, 6 cloves and small pinch of coriander seeds. Toast until fragrant. Once fragrant, smash open the cardamom pod. Allow spices to cool down and put into a spice bag.
Do not skip the extra step of parboiling your bones. It makes for a clear broth and you won’t eat all that scum. Heat up a pot of water on your stove top and once it comes to a boil, add the bones and allow to boil on high for about 5 minutes until the impurities are released from the bones. You’ll see the water turn grey. Drain the bones and rinse under cold water gently rubbing away any scum attached to the bones. Here I used oxtail and marrow bones.
Add the bones, onion, ginger, spice bag, frozen whole beef tendon and daikon pieces (optional) to the instant pot. Add enough water to reach max line. Secure the lid and ensure it’s set to sealing. Select manual high pressure for 45 minutes and NPR (natural pressure release). I left it on warm mode and it took a good 2 hours for it to natural release. If you turned the machine off it would definitely go faster.
This is what the broth looks like when it’s done cooking. The broth is very clear. Gently use a ladle to skim off the layer of fat on the top produced from the oxtail. Remove the onion pieces, ginger and spice bag. Remove the tendon and slice into pieces or leave whole if you prefer to eat it in large chunks. Set the machine to sauté mode, normal, and season with salt, sugar and fish sauce to taste. Add in your beef balls and allow to come to a boil.
Boil your noodles, top with rare sliced beef, and steaming hot broth along with the tendon, beef balls and oxtail. Garnish with bean sprouts, Thai basil, green onions, finely slices sawtooth herb (ngo gai) and a squeeze of lime. Slurp up the noodles and enjoy!
So how did the instant pot pho compare to he stove top version? Well, for my first try I would say it turned out well but the flavor was not as rich or flavorful as the stovetop version. Next time I will double the amount of bones and oxtail to see if that helps to produce a more flavorful stock. It’s definitely a huge time saver using the instant pot. My silicone ring still smells like pho though so be warned. I soaked it in a mixture of dish soap and vinegar but it didn’t seem to do too much.
So what are your favorite instant pot recipes? Any tips to share?