Beef Pho
This popular Vietnamese soup is pronounced “fuh,” with an upward inflection. Traditional cooking methods call for a broth that has been simmered for several hours, but cooking under pressure allows for a full-flavored broth in a fraction of the time. The high cartilage content of the oxtails lends a velvety mouthfeel. The heat from the broth cooks the raw beef slices to a perfect medium-rare in the time it takes to add your toppings.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 8minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4servings 8minutes
Cook Time
For The Broth
  • 1 1/2pounds oxtails
  • 1/2pound beef brisket or chuck roast
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5whole cloves
  • 1/8tsp ground coriander
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1/2medium onionthickly sliced
  • 2-inchpiece fresh gingerthickly sliced and bruised
  • 10cups filtered water
  • 1/2medium fuju apple (see note)peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 2tsp fish sauceor more to taste
  • keto-friendly sweetener(optional)
To Assemble
  • 6ounces sirloin steak
  • 2large Zucchinispiralized into thin noodles
  • 1/4 red onionthinly sliced
  • 2 scallionsthinly sliced on a diagonal
  • Lime wedgesfor serving
Toppings (Optional)
  • 1cup mung bean sprouts or other sprouted greens
  • few sprigs each of fresh thai basil, cilantro, and/or mint
  • thai chiles or jalapenosthinly sliced
  1. For the Broth: Rinse the oxtails and brisket well under cold running water. Place the oxtails and brisket in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to a low boil and cook for 15 minutes. You will see a beige colored raft of foam form on the surface of the water. Remove the pot from the heat, discard the water, and rinse the oxtails and brisket with warm water when they are cool enough to handle. Set the beef aside.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté. Once heated, place the cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and star anise in the bottom of the dry pot insert and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the onion and ginger and continue to stir for an additional minute or two. The aromatics will begin to smell very fragrant during this time, and it is desirable if they begin to char slightly. Press Cancel.
  3. Carefully pour in the water, then add the oxtails, brisket, apple, and salt. Secure the lid and set the steam release valve to Sealing. Press the Pressure Cook or Manual button and set the cook time to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place the sirloin in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes (this makes it easier to slice later). Place the optional toppings in small bowls to prepare for serving later.
  5. When the Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes, then carefully switch the steam release valve to Venting. When fully released, open the lid. Very carefully strain the hot broth from the pot through a fine-mesh sieve. Set the brisket aside and discard the ginger, onion, apple, and spices. Leftover bones and cartilaginous bone caps from the oxtails can be saved and used again later to make bone broth. Season the strained broth with fish sauce to taste. Adjust the flavor by adding sweetener to taste, if desired.
  6. Remove the sirloin from the freezer and slice thinly across the grain. Likewise slice the cooked brisket. Divide the spiralized zucchini noodles evenly among four large soup bowls. Arrange slices of both raw and cooked beef atop the zucchini noodles, along with slices of red onion and scallion. Gently pour a generous serving of piping hot broth into each bowl directly over top of the raw beef slices and zucchini noodles. Serve immediately with the optional toppings on the side for diners to add themselves, along with lime wedges.
Recipe Notes

Keto folks might be tempted to omit the apple from this recipe, but don’t! You discard it after cooking, and it adds minimal carbs per serving.