Shiitake Pho

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.

**Feel free to click on the red links for photo references**

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) 
  • Sriracha
  • Hoisin sauce
  1. 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).
  2.  Place noodles in a bowl with room temperature water, and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Thinly slice spare piece of yellow onion and prepare with other garnishes.
  7. Bring a separate pot of water to a boil, and toss in the rice noodles. Cook for 1 minute.
  8. 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)
  9. Enjoy with Sriracha and hoisin sauce 🙂


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