Friday, January 21, 2011

Pho True

Vietnamese food is one of my favorite cuisines, what's not to love? Sticky rice noodles, crisp vegetables, fresh herbs and subtle heat mingled into savory broths is just the best. Vegan Pho, (rhymes with duh), is a dish I've wanted to try at home for a long time, and I finally gave in to my leanings yesterday and whipped some up. Typically, this noodle soup is full of all sorts of animal parts, but in my bowl, I kept it happy with deep fried lemongrass tofu and some homemade xgfx sausage balls that were seasoned to complement the broth. You can add whatever sorts of protein you like, most vegan versions of this soup use a variety of seitan formations.

Pho is all about fresh herbs, noodles, condiments and slurpin'.
Makes 4 large bowls
What You Need:
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2” finger ginger, thickly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 12 cups water
  • 4 pods cardamon, crushed or ¼ teaspoon ground
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 whole star anise pods
  • small pinch anise seeds
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons unbleached granulaed sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • large handful dried shiitake mushrooms, optional)
  • 1 ½-2 cups fresh shiitake or portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/3” thick
  • protein--about 1/3 cup per bowl, bite sized
  • 2-3 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
  • bunch fresh basil
  • bunch fresh mint
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • small bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut in half and quartered
  • hoisin sauce*, optional but tasty (I finally found a xgfx brand made by Edward and Sons under the name Premier Japan--totally worth the price)
  • sriracha or red chili paste
  • wheat-free tamari
  • 13 oz package rice noodles (banh pho)
What You Do:
  1. Place the onion, garlic and ginger on a cookie sheet and broil under direct heat until lightly charred.
  2. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the charred ingredients, the spices, sugar, salt, carrots and dried mushrooms, if using. Cover the pot and let the broth cook over medium high heat(rolling boil) for 30-45 minutes.
  3. While the broth is cooking, prepare the noodles as directed on your package, rinse 'em well with cold water and set aside.
  4. Prepare the herbs by giving 'em a good bath and drying them well. The fun part of eating Pho, is each diner gets to assemble and season their own bowls. So, you can pile "the accessories" onto one platter to be shared by the table, or arrange 'em into individual bowls for each person. Make neat but separate piles of the sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro and limes. Leave the leaves on the herbs, and let folks rip them off into their own bowls at the table.
  5. Strain the broth to remove all solids, rinse out the pot and return the broth. Bring back to a soft boil and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Season to taste lightly with salt.
  6. To serve: divide the noodles evenly between 4 deep bowls. Top with your protein choice, then fill up with broth. Let each person season their bowls to taste with freshly torn herbs, sprouts, lime juice, jalapenos, wheat-free tamari, Sriracha and hoisin sauce.

I like to eat pho with chopsticks, that spoon up there is just a prop. When the broth is reached, I just tip back the bowl and enjoy. Not sure how well this would go over in restaurants, but at home it's all the rage.



  1. That looks so good. Pho is my go-to gloomy weather food. It's comforting stuff.

  2. Beautiful! I am obsessed with Vietnamese food. Lemongrass Tofu is one of my favorite dishes, and adding it to pho is genius.

  3. MMMMM that is a bowl of awesome. I agree, Vietnamese food is pretty fantastic! Your pho recipe sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. ^^

  4. I only had pho once. At a Loving Hut in France.I really liked it so thank you for sharing the recipe.

  5. Yum!! I love any savory food that also involves lime.

  6. I love pho so much! I've been trying to convince people to have it for dinner but no one is biting yet. Yours looks really good.

  7. this looks deeelicious.

    p.s. i bought a bunch of stuff from bui's today. addicted! don't tell me if you find out they use gmo junk...i'll cry.

  8. It sounds really good! So far I haven't liked any vegan pho but I feel like if I keep trying....

    I wish I had some right now!

  9. your pho looks gloriously good, kittee! people always try and correct me when i pronounce it similar to "duh" - good to know i'm spot on. :) i love eating my pho with choppies as well - but i haven't had pho in ages.....totally gonna have to try yours! hoooooray for delicious pho that'll soon be in mah belly!

  10. did you ever find/create a good ya ka mein recipe? I've been craving that stuff!

  11. Wow, this looks incredible! I definitely need to try this recipe. Thanks for posting :)

  12. omg, this is sooo awesome! I just want to slurp it on up

  13. Pho real! I love VIetnamese....thanks for this fab recipe.

  14. Wow! This looks perfect for a very nice dinner in a cold weather! Really yummy.

  15. Drool. That's pretty much the perfect soup.

  16. i'll definitely have to try this out. i hope the lack of sticky menus and cultural misunderstandings doesn't take away from the experience!

  17. I'm lucky enough to live in a city that has a restaurant called Pho that, you guessed it, specialises in Pho but I'm definitely going to be trying to make this version at home sometime soon.


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