Carbless Pho, No Pho word-puns I swear, Shirataki pls.

I almost wanted to avoid putting a title on this post…I swear if I have to read one more “What the Pho?” or “Who the pho do you think you are” or “Pho-getta-bout-it” or “What the pho are you eating?” pun filled recipe on how to make this stuff I will throw my monitor out the window.


In this recipe I bring back the zero carb/zero calorie Shirataki noodle, and prepare a Pho that has less than 300 calories per huge bowl, will fill you up to the brim, satisfy that craving, and keep you in your low-carb mode without any guilt.  I also add a modern twist by adding some melt-in-your-mouth sous-vide steak strips in the very end for texture.  If you’re interested in other Shirataki recipes I also made a carbless chicken chow-mein that you can try as well.


Pho can come about as varied as pizza, but like pizza it seems like there are ingredients accepted as universal, and ingredients that add twists based on the person preparing it.  So I will keep the two separate so if you’d like you can tweak it the way I did.

The Universal Ingredients that pretty much every douchebag on the internet with an opinion agrees should be in Pho:

  • Onions (2 Medium)
  • Ginger, chunk about 4″ long
  • Beef Bones (I used a 5 pound knuckle)
  • Star Anise, about 5 pods.
  • Cloves, I used 5
  • Cinnamon Sticks, I used 3
  • 1 Pound Meat, (chuck, rump, brisket – chopped up)
  • Salt, I used 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Fish Sauce, I used 1/4 cup
  • Sugar*, I used Splenda, 2 Tbsp

This is your basic broth setup.  This is 95% of the equation, everything after this is where opinions and tastes start to spread out and go all sorts of different places.  Adding more meat/different meat/veggies etc is up for debate or taste.

*I’d like to note that every recipe calls for Yellow-Rock-Sugar which I found completely unnecessary and I doubt if you lined up 100 Vietnamese people who had been living on nothing but pho their entire lives, that they would be able to tell the difference between one prepared WITH it and one WITHOUT it.


The ingredients I used after the broth

  • Shirataki Noodles
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • 1 lb London Broil
  • Green Onions


Some extra ideas that I didnt use but feel free to

  • Spearmint
  • Basil
  • Red Hot Chilis
  • Lime Wedges
  • Hoisin
  • Sriracha
  • Tendons/Meatballs etc.


Lets get started.


First things first, go to your butcher and ask for bones.  I felt like a badass because I made the butcher go in the back and pull out this huge beef knuckle…made me feel like I knew what I was doing when in reality I was pretty nervous because I had no idea how much a beef knuckle costs.  Its about 3 bucks a pound for organic.  I had him cut it in half for me to allow better penetration.


Now then, you want to grill (or put on a pan if you have to) your onions and ginger for 10-15 minutes, skin on, the goal here is to get them to be mushy/soft.  Once they are good, wash them off, remove the skin and feel free to cut them up into big chunks for the broth.


While thats going on you may want to get started on the soup.  Put your bones in enough water to cover them up and boil them, hard.  Everyone agrees this needs to be done, no one agrees on how long.  I’ve read 2-3 minutes, ive read 10, and I’ve read 15.  So lets just call it 9 minutes and 20 seconds…yea…boil it for 9 minutes and 20 seconds.  This is to “release the impurities” aka get the funk out of your pho.


Pour your water out, rinse off the bones really quick, then get back to making the broth.



Get all your ingredients together.


Dump everything you got into the pot with about 6 quarts of water.  Onions, ginger, cinnamon, anise, sliced meat, fish sauce, salt/sugar/splenda, pepper, cloves…all that shit, just throw it in.


Bring the broth to a light simmer, in the beginning you’re going to want to use a spoon or something to skim off the froth-scum that rises to the top.


After some spooning it should look like this.


Now most recipes call for simmering it for 90 minutes, then removing your meat from the mixture.  Personally I hate overdone boiled meat so I removed it after like 10 minutes.  If you want to keep it traditional, simmer for 90 and remove your meat after 90 minutes.  Rinse it with water to stop the cooking, and set it aside.


Let the broth simmer for about 3 hours total.


When you’re ready just pour it all out through a strainer to collect the solids.



Now its time to assemble the bowl.

As always strain your shirataki noodles and give them a strong rinse-off to get the packaging liquid off of them.


Start assembling your bowls.  Add broth, add noodle.


This is a personal touch/flair that I added that put a modern twist on it.  I sous-vide some skirt steak separately at 130 for a very tender medium rare.  I added this to the broth so there was a very “fine steak” feature to the soup.   It added a tenderness and meat-quality factor that is sometimes lacking for me in most Pho.


Add sprouts, scallions, cilantro etc.



And serve…the Shirataki noodles are so at home in this recipe its absurd.  The fact that they are essentially zero calorie (think they have 10 or so per bowl) makes this so much more pleasant for me.


That tender sous-vide beef adds such a decadent/fine dining twist onto the soups meat.



So this is one for my healthy people out there fiending for Pho but knowing that its like 1000+ calories.


Hope you guys enjoy, my wife loves this recipe when she is having a carb-attack.