Pho, that mesmerizing Vietnamese beef soup, takes time. So let's get this out of the way: This is not authentic pho. Rather, it is inspired by pho - and one of my favorite teas, a rooibos (red herbal) chai, that includes the spices of pho's intoxicating broth: cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom.

Faux Pho

Makes 4 servings

2 ounces rice noodles

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon chopped


1 tablespoon honey

48 ounces chicken broth

2 to 3 tea bags herbal

rooibos chai tea

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1/4 to 1/2 pound rib-eye or strip steak, very thinly sliced, pounded thin

2 cups bean sprouts

1/2 cup basil or mint, coarsely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

1 lime, quartered

1. For noodles, heat large saucepan of water to a boil. Prepare according to package instructions.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and ginger. Cook until ginger yields its fragrance, about 1 minute. Stir in the honey, letting it meld with the onion and ginger, about 30 seconds. Add broth; heat to a boil.

3. Lower heat; add tea bags. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tea releases its fragrance and flavors, about 2 minutes.

4. Stir in fish sauce; raise heat to medium-high. When mixture reaches a boil, lower heat to a slow boil. Add beef. Cook until meat is medium-rare, about 2 to 5 minutes.

5. Remove pan from heat; discard tea bags. Stir in noodles, bean sprouts, basil or mint, and jalapenos. Taste for seasoning. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing at the table.

Per serving: 228 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 829 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.