I bought some top sirloin with the express intent of making pho, and then last night I realized I (a) didn't have a recipe to hand, (b) wasn't sure exactly which ingredients to use, and (c) kind of felt like flying by the seat of my pants anyway.
This was the result.
Vernie, our friend who has to be coaxed (sometimes violently) to eat anything, had a teeny-weeny bowl for politeness' sake. And then a (substantially larger) second bowl, because as he said, "This is [freaking] amazing."
(Yes, I know a real pho would have noodles in. I didn't have any. But if you had rice sticks or even some fresh udon or something, that would not be a bad addition at all. This was pretty darn brothy as made and some noodles would substantify it a bit.)
1/2 pound top sirloin roast/steak, about 1-1/2" thick
1 Tbsp flavorless vegetable oil, such as peanut or grapeseed
A 2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and Microplaned
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp hot sauce (Drunken Angel, if you're me)
6 cups strong chicken broth
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
Plenty of fresh cilantro (I think I used about 1/2 cup of chopped leaves)
Cut the sirloin in half latitudinally so that you have two pieces about 3/4" thick. Set pieces on a plate and put them in the freezer.
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir frantically for about 1 minute; add red pepper flakes and salt and stir frantically for 30 seconds more.
Add hot sauce, chicken broth, scallions and fish sauce. Bring to a boil; turn down to a simmer and simmer, partly covered, about 20 minutes.
After about 15 minutes of simmering time, remove sirloin from freezer. Slice as thinly as possible (my slices were a little under 1/4" thick).
Add sliced beef to soup. Immediately cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for five minutes.
Stir in cilantro and serve.
(If you're using noodles, be sure they are some sort that will cook very quickly and toss them in for the last few minutes of simmering. If you're using fresh udon, just wait and throw them in with the beef.)