Pho is a popular Vietnamese street food that has become one of the most well-known Vietnamese dishes in the US. It is so popular that there are entire restaurants sprouting up all over the place devoted to serving this steamy, fragrant, and brothy noodle soups. Generally, pho is treated as the entree of a meal, but you can always serve smaller portions to be used as a starter or side.
As with most street foods, this soup is a comfort food that is FULL of flavor. However, unlike the rest of the street food genre, this noodle soup can be much more healthy for you. It can also be adjusted to accommodate most any aversions…just omit the offending ingredient!
The problem: Restaurant soups can be so tricky for vegetarians because stock and broth seem to find their ways into even the most vegetarian sounding foods. Pho is no different. Pho is traditionally made with a beef broth and served with beef or chicken. Sigh…!! But no fear, I’m not about to let something like that get in the way of our gustatory experience!
This soup is a little more complicated and requires more planning ahead than some of my other recipes – especially if you need to make an extra stop at the local Asian grocery store for some of the special ingredients. I promise though, it’s totally worth the effort!!! This recipe also makes a ton of broth so you can easily freeze it for quick use later.
Pronunciation note: Due to its spelling, many people mistakenly pronounce pho as “FO”, when in fact, the pronunciation is more similar to “FUH”…as in “fun” without the “n”.
|1 small unpeeled onion, quartered|
|2 unpeeled shallots, halved|
|8 garlic cloves, halved|
|1" ginger, sliced|
|Two 3" cinnamon sticks, whole|
|3 star anise, whole|
|4 cloves, whole|
|1 tsp black peppercorn, whole|
|1 tsp coriander seeds, whole|
|1 tsp fennel seeds, whole|
|3 black cardamom pods, whole|
|8 cups clear stock or water|
|3 tbs soy sauce|
|salt and sugar to taste (I don't generally have to add these)|
|1 package banh pho noodles (or any rice noodle of choice)|
|8 oz seitan/fried tofu/fresh tofu|
|6 scallions, chopped|
|1.5 cups bean sprouts (the thick kind, not the stringy kind)|
|6+ white mushrooms, sliced|
|1/2 cup shredded carrot|
|basil, cilantro, mint|
|1 lime, wedged|