So I made Pho (pronounced Fuh) for dinner tonight, a Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup.
There are many MANY recipes for making this delectable and heart warming Vietnamese noodle soup. But the secret to making great Pho is in the broth and I discovered that dry roasting the spices is the key for a deep rich flavored broth. Some people broil vegetables and spices before adding them to broth. But I just dry roast the spices and I think it does the trick.
I never made or ate non-vegetarian Pho so I have no idea how others taste. But I assume, a vegetarian version has to be the original way that Vietnamese people made it because it is so flavorful and clean tasting that I can’t imagine why you would need to make it any other way. Besides, meat must have been very expensive in Vietnam, long time ago, so they couldn’t have made it with meat originally. But if you want to make it with beef or seafood broth, then, you can certainly do that too. For beef broth though, you’d have to simmer shank bones (with marrow inside) for about 3 hours instead of just one hour as in this recipe. But try this first. You won’t regret it. I skipped sugar in this version too as I don’t think it’s necessary. Pho is a great gluten-free noodle dish since it’s made with rice noodles. It’s one of few noodle dishes we enjoy since we don’t eat wheat noodles anymore.
Oh, this method is great for those of you who follow “Forks over Knives” diet too because it doesn’t use any oil.
Read the entire recipe before shopping for ingredients. In addition to the list of ingredients below, you’ll need a 9 oz. package of rice noodles, 2 scallions and half bunch of cilantro.
Vegetarian Vietnamese Noodle Soup or Pho
Spices for broth:
- 1 Tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp of ground coriander
- 1/2 Tsp Coriander Seeds
- 1/2 Tsp Whole Cloves
- 1/2 Star Anise
- 1 Tsp Chili Pepper Flakes (Optional)
- 1 Medium Onion chopped
- 4 Cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 Med Piece (about 3″) of Ginger skinned and roughly chopped
- 1/2 Cup of roughly chopped cilantro, stems and all
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large stock pot, put the above ingredients and roast them in high heat until it starts to smoke a bit. Don’t burn them. They should be just hot enough to start smoking in the pot. When it starts to smoke, add 4 Cups of water and 4 cups of homemade vegetable broth or store bought Organic Vegetable Broth. (I like the Pacific brand.) Let broth come to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for an hour. Yes, for an HOUR. <— this is important.
While the broth is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rice noodles to the pot and boil for about 6-8 minutes. You can find rice noodles like this one in any Asian market. Some supermarkets may carry it too. But if you can’t find it, you can find it on Amazon. (And if you buy from this link, I’ll make a few pennies. )
Wash and clean the following vegetables that you will add to the broth, right before you serve.
- 1 Bunch of Bok Coy
- 1 Cup of Snow Peas
- a Bunch of Enoki Mushrooms
- 1 Cup of Shitake Mushrooms
- 1 Cup of Bean Sprouts
- 2 Carrots julienned
After the broth has simmered for about an hour, add the above vegetables, right before serving. If you add them too early, greens will turn brown. Not pretty.
Chop 2 scallions and 1/4 Cup of cilantro leaves and put aside for garnish.
Put the rice noodles in a bowl, add broth and vegetables, and liberally add scallions and cilantro as garnish. You can also add Hoisin Sauce and/or hot sauce to taste. Some people add a squirt of lemon juice too. I like it without all that. I want to taste all the exotic spices all blended together in the broth.