This vegetarian pho soup recipe is a great spin on the traditional meat based pho. We are adding lots of depth and flavour and spicy notes. Don’t skip the toppings!
For the Broth-
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 3 inch piece cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
For the Noodles-
- 100 grams dried flat rice noodles
- 50 grams tofu
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 4–5 button mushrooms, diced into four
- bok choy/ chinese cabbage/ broccoli-all prepared 1/2 cup each or any one of the two as desired
For the Garnishes-
- 2 scallions or green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 thai red chillies, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- a large handful of herbs- cilantro, thai basil, mint
- hoisin sauce
- For the broth: Heat oil in a pan and char the onion halves and the ginger until slightly blackened, about 2-3 minutes on both sides. You may even put them under a broiler for 5 minutes.
- Broth: In a large pot, dry roast the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and coriander seeds over a medium low flame until aromatic. Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots and the charred onions and ginger. Bring the broth to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer covered for about 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot on the side till ready to serve.
- Noodles: While the broth is boiling, prepare the noodles. Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water till submerged. Let stand for 20-25 minutes or until tender but still chewy (if soaking the noodles as above does not soften them enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds).
- Toppings: Prepare the toppings as desired. You may tear or slice the cabbage and bok choy and steam the broccoli florets.
- Tofu: Press the tofu in a couple of layers of paper towels for 10 minutes to drain the excess water. Slice and cook the tofu with the hoisin and sriracha for 2-3 in a frying pan.
- To serve: divide the noodles between both the bowls, arrange the toppings over the noodles and ladle the hot broth over. Serve with the garnishes and the sauces on the side.
- Pho is best enjoyed while it’s still hot
- Leftover broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
- To make this vegetarian pho spicier, add 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes to the broth while it simmers. But the thai red chillies add enough heat on their own
- Pho is generally enjoyed with hoisin sauce or soy sauce on the side. In this case we’ve used that flavour by cooking the tofu with hoisin sauce.
- If you want to check out a meat based authentic pho recipes, my friend Maggie has a great recipe for it.