Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vegetarian Pho (fuh) Soup

Vegetarian Pho
 A couple of weeks ago I had a 24 hour gastrointestinal virus and after I recovered, I only felt like eating plain starches, like plain spaghetti and rice noodles.  I found this recipe while looking for something different to do with rice noodles and a Pho vegan soup sounded like the perfect dish.  Pho is the national soup of Vietnam.  It is a bowl of rice noodles, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts swimming in a fragrant broth. The anise seed gives the broth a depth of flavor with a hint of licorice, while the ginger adds a kick of heat.  The broth is a bit time consuming, but the fragrance while the broth simmers is heavenly and well worth the effort.  My tasting partner thought I ought to make a large batch of the broth and freeze it in order to have a soup base ready at a moments notice.  I just might do that.

recipe after the jump

Vegetarian Pho

serves 6

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce (gluten free if necessary)
12 ¼-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon of anise seed
5–6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
5–6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup


1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles
1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced
3 cups soybean sprouts
2 cups watercress
4 green onions, sliced (½ cup)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup fresh basil leaves1 lime, cut into wedges

1. To make Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.

2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.

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