Category: Soups / Stews

Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Miso Soup is so much more than that little bowl that comes with your sushi. While the ingredients and technique are simple, the umami flavors are anything but and are foundational to Japanese cuisine. I’m going to show you how easy it is to make read more

Kabocha Soup

Kabocha Soup

It may still be in the mid 80’s here in sunny South Florida, but that does not mean I am immune to the charms of fall. And my Kabocha Soup is all of your sweater weather, cozy nights in, warm baking smells wafting through the read more

Pork Rib and Radish Soup

Pork Rib and Radish Soup

While much of the country is still digging out of a deep freeze, I thought I would post one of the easiest and most comforting soups that I know. Chinese Pork Rib and Radish Soup has a steaming clear broth, hearty chunks of rich pork ribs, and delicately flavored Daikon radish. Which makes Paigu Luobo Tang the perfect antidote to February’s unpredictable weather. And it couldn’t be easier to prepare. With just a handful of ingredients and only a few minutes of hands on time, this warming Chinese soup is going to be become your new winter secret weapon too.

chinese pork rib and radish soup ingredients

Crystal Clear Broth

The hallmark of Pork Rib and Radish Soup is a really clean, clear broth. This requires parboiling the pork ribs to remove impurities that would otherwise make the soup cloudy. Speaking of ribs, I generally choose St. Louis Ribs because they are meaty and their high fat content adds lots of luscious flavor to this simple soup.

pork radish soup cutting ribs

pork radish soup rib boil

pork rib radish soup drain water

Two Kinds of Peppercorns!

I use both black and white peppercorns in my Pork Rib and Radish Soup. The black peppercorns give their familiar heat, while the white peppercorns add a funky (my daughters say barnyard) flavor I love. But if you only have one or the other on hand, no biggie. The soup will be delicious either way. Crack them coarsely with a mallet to bring out their flavor.

Daikon Radish

Daikon radish is used throughout Asia. It looks like an enormous white carrot, and has a very mild and almost sweet flavor. It is used heavily in stews and soups as it hits peak flavor during cooler months.

pork rib soup daikon radish

Soup’s On!

pork rib radish soup simmering

pork rib radish soup finish

As the broth simmers, you will want to skim the broth occasionally. Pork ribs render out a lot of fat and you want to scoop out as much of it as possible to keep your broth clean tasting and not fatty.

Now that the pork and radish are both tender, it’s time to serve up this gloriously comforting Pork Rib and Radish soup. I like to garnish with some scallions for a nice presentation and a little color. The beauty of this soup is in the pared down ingredients and ridiculously easy technique. It really doesn’t need anything else, but if you’d like to add a handful of greens, such as watercress or spinach right before serving, I’d say that’s a nice touch.

This is a rustic, comforting soup so I don’t bother taking out the garlic cloves, which kind of melt down, or the peppercorns. For the most part, the peppercorns will start to sink to the bottom of the pot so you shouldn’t be getting a lot in your soup bowls. However, if it bothers you, you can strain them out before serving.

When you make this, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag us in your photos, @funkyasiankitchen. Show us the goods!

Can’t get enough authentic Chinese food in your life? Try our quick weeknight Char Sui Pork, Chinese Almond Cookies, or Mapo Tofu!

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pork rib radish soup recipe card

Pork Rib and Radish Soup

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1.5 hours
  • Total Time: 41 minute
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Chinese



One Tablespoon whole white peppercorns

One Tablespoon whole black peppercorns 

12 garlic cloves

1 rack of St. Louis style spare ribs, cut through the ribs to create smaller bite sized pieces

12 cups water

1 daikon radish

3 teaspoons salt 

1 Tablespoon sugar 

Sliced scallion for garnish


  1. Use a mortar and pestle to lightly crack the peppercorns. Alternative, place them in a sealed plastic bag and use a heavy pot or can to coarsely crack. You want them to be in large cracked pieces.
  2. It is fine if there are some whole peppercorns in the mix. In fact the smaller the pieces, the spicier your soup will be, so if you prefer a more mild soup, only lightly crack some of the peppercorns.
  3. Place a skillet over medium-low to medium heat, toast the peppercorns for 2-3 mins until fragrant. Set aside.
  4. Cut the rack of ribs between the bones so you have a pile of mini ribs. Set aside.
  5. Bring a pot with plenty of water to a boil over high heat and then add pork ribs. Bring the pot back to a boil and continue to cook for two additional minutes. Discard the liquid and rinse the ribs under running water.
  6. Clean out the pot and then add the pork ribs, 12 cups of water, 3 teaspoons of salt, and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer, skimming off any foam. Add the peppercorns and garlic.
  7. Simmer for 1 hour, with the pot covered with a lid, skimming periodically (the ribs will give off quite a bit of fat.)
  8. In the meantime, peel the radish and cut it in half lengthwise. If the daikon is particularly fat, cut it again in half lengthwise so you have 4 quarters. Slice the daikon into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
  9. After an hour of cooking, skim the surface fat once more and add the daikon radish. Continue simmering until the ribs and daikon are tender, about 30 more minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust with a little more salt as needed.
  10. Serve the soup garnished with some sliced scallions. 



*Many of the grocery store near me sell spare ribs that are already cut in thirds. If you can only find un-cut ribs, ask the person in the meat department to cut them for you. Unless you have a sharp meat cleaver and some experience, it’s best to leave this to the experts. You can also leave the ribs uncut and just slice up the ribs between the bones. It will work out just fine either way.

*This boiled soup has many variations and you can adjust it to suit your taste or what’s in your fridge. You can use cabbage, potatoes, or turnips instead of the daikon. And some greens like watercress or spinach thrown in at the last minute is a nice touch too. Sometimes I add some sliced ginger or whole scallions to the broth too and fish it out right before serving.

Kimchi Stew

Kimchi Stew

Maybe the word “stew” conjures images of a bland and boring bowl of overcooked gray meat. Well, Kimchi Stew is going to change that! Vividly red, packed with spicy and funky flavor, this recipe will change the way you view stews forever. Kimchi Stew, or read more

Japanese Oden Stew

Japanese Oden Stew

Oden, or fish cake stew, is as traditional Japanese as it gets. It’s a hearty but subtle combination of colors, flavors, and textures. Japanese Oden Stew is a one pot dish, frequently enjoyed in winter, that is packed with classic pantry items. Some of these read more

Vietnamese Beef Pho

Vietnamese Beef Pho

What the Pho?!

First things first. Let’s clear up the pronunciation. Pho is pronounced fuh, NOT foe. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, Beef Pho is to Vietnam what pizza is to Italy, or what fish and chips are to England.  It can be hard to call something a national dish, but Vietnamese beef pho probably is the number one dish associated with Vietnamese cuisine.

There are many different types of Pho, including chicken and seafood, but beef is the most common. And the number of different beef cuts and options on menus at a Pho restaurant can be dizzying. Everything from raw beef, to tendon, to tripe is available. Without getting too crazy, my Vietnamese Beef Pho brings all that vibrant flavor straight to your table by selecting a couple of contrasting beef cuts, creating a great stock, and highlighting a couple key points.

Pho is a customizable soup, with endless garnishes offered for you to tweak your own bowl.  There’s hot sauce for the hotheads, bottles of fish sauce for the funkheads, and lots of other tasty little bits of herbs and goodies like shallots, limes, and sprouts that are passed around to add freshness, flavor and crunch. No two bowls will be alike and that’s all part of the fun.

Vietnamese Beef Pho

Pho Ingredients


No matter what type of broth or protein, no pho would be complete without the slippery, chewy deliciousness of pho noodles. Known as báhn pho, these rice noodles  are also sometimes called rice sticks. Look for the ones that are thicker than vermicelli, but thinner than the really wide rice noodles used for stir fries. It is best to use the fresh or frozen noodles for this dish, instead of dried noodles. I find the taste of fresh noodles so much better than dried in Pho.


Rice Noodles

Sweet Spices

Star anise is the dominant spice flavor in a true pho broth. Star anise gives it that characteristic sweet aroma. Toasting the star anise, cinnamon stick, and cloves will help to release and deepen their flavor. Since we want to toast them to bring out the flavor, it’s efficient to do it on the same pan as the aromatics. Toasting the spices will just take a couple minutes. Be careful though not to burn them though as that will add a bitterness we don’t want. As soon as you can smell them, they’re ready. 

charring pho ingredients

A Great Broth Takes Time

Pho is based on a rich bone broth, usually beef, although there are some regional variations. One of the more common requests we get at our restaurant in South Miami is for Pho. But once you see the process in making the broth, you will see while it is not difficult, it does require lengthy simmering to achieve a rich bone broth. It takes time and stove space to get flavor and richness out of those bones. Since we are in short supply of both, we keep Pho as an anticipated special rather than a regular menu item. 

Pho ingredients

Making the Broth

Typically, bones are combined with vegetables which are charred over an open fire, before simmering for hours. However, my recipe streamlines the process for you, without sacrificing one drop of authentic flavor. First, we’ll start out by using the broiler to get a nice, fast char on the onions and ginger. This will help mimic some of pho’s characteristic smokiness without the hassle of lighting a grill. And toasting the spices on the same tray also keeps washing dishes to a minimum.

Choose the Right Bones

Now it’s time for the beef bones. I always use neck bones. Ask your butcher for meaty bones- they have more flavor. You’ll do a quick boil to rid them of impurities (the initial scum that may rise from them). Then rinse them in fresh water, and simmer with the spices, onions, and other flavorings, giving a stir every 30 minutes or so, and skimming the surface to remove scum/oil. We continue to skim off any scum residue that rises so that the final broth is clean and clear.

Finally, you’ll add the braising meat in the last two hours, simmering until it becomes fork tender. I have brisket in the recipe but you could use chuck as well. Then you are going to strain the broth into a container, and slice the meat. Although we like a clear broth, a little bit of fat is nice as it gives the broth some body and richness. 


See those impurities in the first picture?  Remove them to keep your broth nice and clear.


Do It In Stages

The broth can be made ahead, and both the meat and broth refrigerated separately, until you are ready to make the noodles and serve. Sometimes on a weekend when I have more time, I’ll make the broth.  Then, on a Tuesday night, I can surprise everyone with pho, because once the broth is done, the rest comes together quickly, since it’s mostly just a matter of cooking your noodles, reheating the broth, and prepping your garnishes.

The Garnishes

You should put together a garnish plate before you start on the noodles. The garnish plate is where everyone gets creative, using it to customize their own bowls. Mound the fresh herbs, crisp bean sprouts, slices of jalapeño, and wedges of lime attractively on a plate and set it in the middle of the table where friends can help themselves. Also common and appreciated are little sauce dishes where you can squeeze hoisin sauce and sriracha to flavor the meat. Once you have placed all of these items on the table, it’s time to get your bowls of Pho out to your hungry family.

pho garnishes

Ready To Serve

Start by prepping your noodles and topping with the meat. Above all, it’s important to bring the broth back to a rolling boil before you pour it over your noodles. You need it at a scorching temperature in order to not only finish softening the noodles but also keep the dish hot since you have raw meat and cold garnishes.

And then it’s time to gather everyone around the table!  Let them add spicy funk, squirts of citrus, herbal goodness, and raw veggie crunch to their heart’s content.

Pho is such a fun and delicious meal, I know your family is going to love it.  If you make our Vietnamese Beef Pho, we want to know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag us in your photos, @funkyasiankitchen. Show us the goods!

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Beef Pho

Vietnamese Beef Pho

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4.5 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


Classic Vietnamese Beef Pho, with a rich and savory broth, and of course delicious noodles.



For the broth:

  • 5 pounds beef neck bones (you need meaty bones, do not use bones that have no meat or your soup will be watery and flavorless)
  • 1 pound brisket or chuck roast
  • 3 2-inch pieces of ginger, washed and slightly smashed with the side of a knife
  • 2 large yellow onions washed and halved
  • 8 whole star anise
  • 3 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves 
  • 1 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

For Serving:

  • 2 lb frozen/fresh pho noodles defrosted
  • 1 pound of shaved top round, sirloin, or rib eye
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 shallots or ¼ yellow onion, thinly sliced 


  • ½ lb fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch of thai/holy basil
  • 1 small bunch cilantro or culantro leaves
  • jalapeno or Serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes quartered


  • Hoisin sauce
  • sriracha chile sauce
  • fish sauce 


Make the broth:

  1. Turn the broiler on high and move the oven rack to the top. Put the onions (cut side up) and ginger on a baking tray and broil for 10-12 mins. Don’t be scared. Make sure they are well browned/blackened. 
  2. Flip the onions and ginger and broil for another 6-8 mins.  In the last couple of minutes, add the star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to the pan to toast. Place the spices, the onions, and ginger in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large stockpot, place the bones in 6 quarts of water and bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Let the bones boil for 5 mins to rid the bones of impurities. Drain the bones in a large colander and rinse with water to wash off any lingering bone fragments. 
  4. Rinse out the pot and then place the bones back in the stockpot along with the onion and ginger. Fill with 8 quarts of filtered water (using filtered water is recommended any time you make a soup).
  5. Bring the broth to a simmer over high heat then lower heat to medium, cover partially with a lid, and simmer for 4-5 hours, skimming the surface of impurities a couple of times for the first hour. 
  6. Fish out the ginger and onion from the pot. Then add the spices, brisket, fish sauce, sugar, and salt and simmer for about an hour and a half until the meat is fork tender.

Strain the Broth:

  1. Pour the soup through a colander into a clean container and skim the surface fat if there is a lot. A little bit of fat remaining on the surface is fine and will give the soup body and richness.
  2. If you are making the pho in stages, which is a great idea, chilling the stock in the fridge overnight will simplify de-fatting as the fat will congeal at the top and make removing it very easy.
  3. You should have about 6 quarts of broth. Add a little water if you’re short or reduce the liquid for a couple mins over high heat if you have a lot more. Taste the broth. It should be more salty than you would normally drink since the noodles and vegetables will dilute the broth. Adjust with some salt if needed.
  4. Slice the brisket into thin slices against the grain. If your meat is too soft to slice, chill it along with the stock and cut it when it is cold, which will be much easier. Put all of the meat into a storage container and refrigerate if not using right away.

For the Noodles and Garnishes:

  1. If you need to make your own shaved beef, put the top round or sirloin into the freezer for about 1 hour until slightly frozen. Using a sharp knife, slice the meat as thinly as possible across the grain. When all the meat is sliced, gather it onto a plate and refrigerate until ready to make the noodles.
  2. Wash the bean sprouts, cilantro, and basil and mound onto a large platter. Add the cut limes to the plate and refrigerate until ready to serve the noodles.
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer before preparing the noodles. If you need to reheat the brisket, take a little of the stock and put it into a separate pan with the brisket. Put a lid over the pan and let the meat reheat gently over medium heat.
  4. Put the noodles into a large bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil and pour the water over the noodles. Use tongs or chopsticks to stir the noodles for 1 minute and then drain the noodles into a colander and rinse with cool water. Do not let the noodles sit in the hot water for longer than 1 minute-you want your noodles springy and chewy, not mushy.  

To Serve:

  1. Divide the noodles into 8 deep soup bowls and top with the hot brisket slices, the cold raw meat, some sliced onion, and a sprinkling of scallions. (I also used some of the braised meat off of the neck bones in the photos).
  2. Bring your broth to a rolling boil. Then ladle 2-3 cups of the broth over the noodles, trying to avoid the raw meat so it doesn’t discolor from the heat. But if you prefer your meat cooked well, go ahead and pour the hot broth over the raw meat. Serve immediately. Guests can add their favorite garnishes and adjust the flavor of the pho with the condiments at the table. 


I hate to throw away the bones with all of that meat and would encourage you to remove the meat from the bones and save it for another use. You can use the meat in the pho itself, in stir-fries, as a filling for tacos or hot sandwiches, or even in other soups. Here is a link for a quick recipe using the leftover meat.

Keywords: pho, soup, vietnamese, beef, noodles