Pho is one of my absolute favourite soups. It is so phoking hard to find vegetarian versions in restaurants, mainly because traditional pho is made with a beef broth and topped with more meat. Its a straight up meat extravaganza. Luckily, the Vietnamese love their spices and herbs, so this dish has tons of other aromatic flavours that contribute to its distinct taste.
My version uses a rich mushroom broth, hearty rice noodles for slurping, and delicious sauteed tofu and mushrooms. Total comfort food.
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Recipe makes 3-4 servings
- 10 cups of mushroom vegetable broth (Substitute: bouillon vegetable broth)
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into quarters (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
- 2″ piece of ginger, halved
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4″ wide rice noodles (Or any other banh pho/ flat rice noodles)
- 1 package of firm tofu (approx. 350 g) sliced into thin rectangular pieces
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp mirin
- 2 cups of bean sprouts
- 2 thinly sliced green onions
- 1 lime cut into quarter wedges
- 1 thinly sliced jalapeno or Thai chillies
- 1 cup of fresh herb leaves (coriander, culantro, Thai basil, mint)
- Hoisin sauce
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Place 3/4 of chopped onion, and ginger pieces on a baking sheet. Place on the top oven rack and cook until charred (approx. 30 minutes).
- Place noodles in a bowl with room temperature water, and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes.
- Pour the broth into a large pot. Toss in the star anise, cardamom, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves. Simmer on low heat.
- Once the onions and ginger have a burnt char on them, toss them into the broth, and simmer for another 30 minutes on medium-low heat.
- In a saute pan, add olive oil and bring to high heat. Add tofu, shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and mirin. Saute until soy and mirin have reduced (approx. 5 minutes).
- Thinly slice spare piece of yellow onion and prepare with other garnishes.
- Bring a separate pot of water to a boil, and toss in the rice noodles. Cook for 1 minute.
- Strain noodle and pho broth and divide evenly into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with shiitake, tofu, green onions, yellow onion, bean sprouts, chilies, herbs and lime wedge. (For a clear broth, I strain through a coffee filter, cheesecloth is also works well)
- Enjoy with Sriracha and hoisin sauce 🙂