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A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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Pho Stock (Nuoc Dung Bo)

Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking

Serves: 6




Many Vietnamese consume great quantities of beef stock and cooks are finicky about the bones that go into make it.  Oxtails are usually cut crosswise before they are sold.  Look for those that have a good red color and no dark or brown marks.  Some Vietnamese prefer to blanch the bones first, then proceed with the cooking of the stock.



3 pounds oxtail, pieces or other bones such as shin or neck
1 ginger, 3-inch
1 red or white onion
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoons fennel seeds

Cooking Method

In a very large stockpot...

  1. Cover the oxtails with water and bring to a boil over high heat. 

  2. Drain off the water.

  3. Cover the oxtails with 14 cups fresh water.

  4. Add the salt. 

  5. Bring to a boil again.


  1. Using tongs, put the ginger and onion directly over a low gas burner or electric burner on medium-high heat and char them all over, about 4 minutes. 

  2. Be careful not to burn yourself. 

  3. Remove from the heat and rinse any ash from the ginger and onion. 

  4. Add the ginger and onion to the stock.

  5. Add the star anise, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves, and sugar to the stock. 

  6. Put the fennel seeds in a tea ball and add to the stock. 

  7. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, skimming occasionally, for about 2 hours. 

  8. Strain.  

The stock will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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