Prep time: 40 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 2” piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp five-spice powder
- 6 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1½ tbsp Asian fish sauce ("nuoc mam" or "nam pla")
- 1½ tsp sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 oz. dried rice noodles or rice vermicelli (Soaking the rice noodles before cooking may seem like an extra step, but it helps release some of their starch so they don't clump and the broth stays clear.)
- 8 oz. flank steak, well trimmed and thinly sliced
- Fresh mint sprigs, fresh cilantro sprigs, fresh mung bean sprouts, chopped scallions, thinly sliced serrano chili, and 2-3 lime wedges, for garnish
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced in paper-thin rounds
- The seasonings and noodles can be found in the Asia section of large supermarkets.
- In a heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and ginger; sauté until onions are lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add five-spice powder; stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain broth into a clean saucepan (discard onion and ginger). Stir fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper to taste into the broth; keep warm over low heat.
- While the broth is simmering, soak rice noodles in hot water (do not boil) in a wide bowl until softened (about 20 minutes). Rinse the noodles well in cold water, then drain. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Arrange the mint and other garnishes on a serving platter. Bring broth back to a boil.
- Transfer softened noodles to the pot of boiling water; cook for about 30 seconds, drain, and divide among 4 deep soup bowls. Arrange some of the raw steak slices over the noodles, and scatter some of the onion rounds over the steak. Ladle boiling broth into each bowl (the beef slices should cook or brown in the boiling broth.). Serve the soup immediately with the garnishes so everyone can customize their own bowl.