Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vietnamese Pho: Vegetable Noodle Soup

When it comes to vegetarian pho, it's all about the broth. That means making it from scratch and taking the time to infuse each and every flavor and spice. The list is long but is worth the time and is practically hands-off. At the bottom I included a quick and easy pho broth recipe that uses store bought broth as a base with the addition of ginger, garlic and spices. While my Pantry Broth is a good quick fix, it's not the intense flavorful taste you get from your favorite Pho restaurant. Try my original recipe first then decide if taking the time is worth it or not to you. I promise it will be!

Vegetable Pho
serves 3
2 large yellow onions, skins on, quartered
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, whole
1 hot house tomato, quartered
3" piece fresh ginger, cut into 3 pieces
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
8 cups water
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, plus stems
2 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl palm sugar (or 1 tsp organic cane sugar)
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cardamom pods
1/8 tsp fennel seeds
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 bunch boy choy, greens roughly chopped
9 oz rice noodles

Preheat the oven to broil.
Toss the onions, carrots, mushrooms, tomato and ginger with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Broil for 12-15 minutes on the highest shelf until the vegetables are lightly charred.
While those are broiling, add the salt, pepper, water, garlic, celery, cilantro, soy sauce, sugar and all of the spices to a large pot over high heat. Add the charred vegetables in when they are done. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for one hour then strain.
Return broth back to the pot and bring to a simmer.Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bok choy and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the rice noodles. Let sit for 10 minutes until tender. Divide the pho into 3 bowls.
Serve with a large plate on the side with all of the garnish options.

2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup bean sprouts
2 limes, quartered1 red chile, thinly sliced
hoisin sauce
hot chile sauce

Pantry Pho broth
If you don't have the time or the ingredients, try this broth that will get the job done in a pinch. But if you want real pho like the kind you get at a restaurant, take the extra time and make the above broth.
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
2" piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup cilantro, plus stems
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tsp organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cinnamon stick

Combine all of the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain.

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