Prep 10 hrs
Cook 0 mins
A wonderful vegetarian version of this traditional Vietnamese soup. One of my favorites.
for the broth
- 1 small unpeeled onion, quartered
- 2 unpeeled shallots, halved
- 8 garlic cloves, halved
- ginger, coarsely sliced
- 2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise pods
- 4 cloves
- 8 cups clear vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- salt (to taste)
for the soup
- 1 lb rice noodles
- 8 ounces seitan or 8 ounces fried tofu, sliced
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced (both green and white parts)
- 1 1⁄2 cups bean sprouts (approx)
- basil or mint (a big handful, to taste) or cilantro leaf, left whole (a big handful, to taste)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
- hoisin sauce (to taste)
- sriracha chili paste (to taste)
- To make the broth, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves and dry-roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to char. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes. Strain into a clean pot and discard the solids. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary. Keep warm over low heat.
- While the broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover and soak for 20 minutes.
- When you are ready to assemble the soup, add the seitan or tofu to the warm broth and allow to heat through. Drain the soaked rice noodles and divide evenly among 4 to 6 large bowls. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the seitan or tofu out of the broth and distribute among the bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles. Serve the bowls of pho with the scallions, bean sprouts, herbs, lime wedges, hoisin sauce and chili sauce on a seperate platter so that everyone can season their own soup as they wish.
I love this as a base recipe, but I made one small change to it. After doubling the recipe size (we really love pho), I actually added a flat of shiitake mushrooms and simmered the soup for the traditional 6-8 hours. Vegetable broth alone isn't enough to replicate the savory flavor of pho, even when combined with the spices. Shiitake is often used by religious vegetarian communities in China and Southeast Asia to replicate a beefy, umami-type flavor in foods, so this is actually a very accurate substitution to make. I used a propane blow torch to scorch my veggies and I tied the spices into a bouquet garni (again, another relatively accurate thing to do, given the French occupation). Other than that, the recipe is amazing. The spices are spot-on perfect. I used to live in Thailand, where we have a similar soup that we just use flat noodles in, and the taste is perfect.
Great recipe! I'm not a vegetarian, but I was looking for an authentic-sounding recipe to use as a base. I used beef stock instead of vegetable stock and added thinly-sliced beef. The recipe is perfect, and I'll certainly be making the vegetarian version when I'm not cooking for omnivores.
Mmmmm.....Total keeper! The only change I made was to use only 1 pod of star anise, one and a half cinnamon sticks and simmer a little longer. My DH added think strips of raw beef to his bowl and the broth cooked it. I added crispy tofu to mine. The flavors and the toppings were perfect, we both loved it and it was fun to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I'll be making this again.