I've been wanting to try making pho at home for a loooong time but had some fears. What if the broth wasn't right?! What things should I add?! One day when I was feeling brave, we went on a mission to the large Asian grocery store here. I had to find fresh pho noodles, mushroom balls, maybe some sort of special tofu, and a fun leafy green. (I love the variety of greens at Asian grocery stores - my favourite is pea tips, though we ended up trying pea shoots in the pho.)
This is just a simple bowl of vegetarian pho, but the feeling of accomplishment and excitement made it a really happy and magical experience. Sometimes I can get way too excited about food. I haven't had pho in a really long time, so I wasn't sure how "accurate" the broth was (though I knew it was amazing), but E said that it tasted like pho should. Pho success! I got the recipe from Leng, and then modified it a bit according to what we had. So I've mostly kept her original recipe and written in my notes.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Thai Coconut Corn Stew
"The" Peanut Sauce
Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan
Soba Noodles with Zucchini Ribbons
Leng and Long’s Pho
Adapted from A Fat Cat Created A Vegetarian
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms, any kind will do
8 cups of vegetable broth
3-5 star anise pods
1 tsp of whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 Tbsp. of vegetarian fish sauce (It would still taste fine if you don’t have this) (Ashley note: I think I added a bit of soy sauce because I didn't have vegetarian fish sauce.)
Ginger, just cut off a small “leg” the sizes vary all the time. Cut piece in half (Ashley note: I used 1 tbsp minced ginger.)
1/2 pound of extra firm tofu, cubed
Mushroom balls, optional
16 oz package of fresh pho noodles
2 to 3 big handfuls of leafy greens (ie. spinach, pea tips)
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/4 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced
Slices of green onions
Mint & basil sprigs
Mung bean sprouts
Black pepper, hoisin & Sriracha hot sauce
(Ashley note: We only added lime, yellow onion and hot sauce.)
Heat oil in a large saucepan on high heat, add chopped onions and mushrooms. Stir. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
Add vegetable broth, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, vegetarian fish sauce and ginger. Stir. Bring broth to a boil. Add tofu cubes & mushroom balls. Bring to a boil. While soup is coming to a boil distribute each large serving bowl with an even amount of pho noodles. About a handful for each person, you’re not going to use the whole package. (Ashley note: We used 1/2 the package for the 2 of us.) These noodles are super long, but do not cut them.
Once soup comes to a boil turn off heat, remove star anise and ginger pieces (if not using minced ginger). Ladle soup directly onto noodles in prepared bowls. Serve with topping plate and sauces. Serve hot!
Note: Cover the noodles in your bowl completely, so that it will not become soggy as you eat it.