Six years ago I didn't know what Vietnamese food was. I had never seen any Vietnamese restaurant in Brazil or anywhere else. Andrew was the one who introduced me to this cuisine, and now we both enjoy going out for Pho and salad rolls. Since not many Vietnamese restaurants serve vegetarian pho soup, I decided to make my own broth at home. It was easier than I thought. If you ever did a vegetable broth, than you can make veggie pho. Everything goes in a large pot for boiling, then strained and served over rice noodles and your favourite pho fixings.
Bonus points for this recipe for filling the house with wonderful aromas of anise, cinnamon and cloves.
Vegetarian Pho Recipe:
You will need:
For the broth:
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 large piece of ginger
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 quarts water
2 small leeks, well washed
5 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
1 tbs coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce (or to taste)
2 tablespoons of salt (or to taste)
For assembling the soup:
1 package of banh pho (rice noodles)
4 oz of canned straw or button mushrooms
8 oz of fried tofu pieces
1 tablespoon of canola oil
4 oz of fresh shitake mushrooms, sauteed in oil
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
green or red pepper, sliced
Make the broth:
First, grill the onion and ginger on a a barbecue grill until charred. You can do this in the oven broiler as well.
Once the onions and ginger are browned, place all broth ingredients, except soy sauce, salt and sugar, in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook it over medium heat for about 45 minutes. Season with sugar, soy sauce and salt to taste. Strain the broth and return to pot. Keep warm.
Make the noodles:
Cook the noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water . Divide the noodles into 4 large soup bowls.
Assemble the soup:
Divide the tofu, canned mushrooms, shitake mushrooms and cilantro evenly among the 4 bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and mushrooms and top it with beans sprouts, Thai basil, onions and other toppings you might want. Enjoy it hot.