Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
Broth (Makes 8 cups)
8 cups clear vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 small onion, diced
One 1-inch piece of ginger
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 pods of star anise
2 large bay leaves
- Put stock, soy sauce, garlic, and onion in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, char ginger on all sides over an open gas flame or in a small skillet. Add to the stock.
- Add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and bay leaves to the broth. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove solids with a slotted spoon or strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Return to pot and keep hot until ready to use in soup.
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
8 cups Vietnamese style broth (see recipe above)
1 pound rice noodles
One 8-ounce package seitan, drained
1/4 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (such as Napa cabbage)
1/2 cup tender greens, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced (both green and white parts)
3 Tablespoons chopped, roasted, unsalted peanuts (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges
3 fresh red or green chili peppers, seeded and cut into thin slices
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Make the broth as directed. When broth has been simmering for about 10 minutes, prepare rice noodles as directed on package.
- Drain the noodles and divide them among six bowls.
- Simmer the seitan in the broth until heated through, about 4 minutes. Remove the seitan with a slotted spoon and slice thinly into six portions. Add to noodles.
- Assemble the soup by placing the bean sprouts, cabbage, greens, basil, cilantro, scallions, and optional peanuts on top of the noodles and seitan. Ladle the hot broth onto the noodle mixture.
- Serve with a plate of lime wedges, sliced peppers, and salt and pepper for individual seasoning.
- We often substitute dried shitake mushrooms for the seitan, adding them to the broth for the entire cooking time.
- Try cubed, firm tofu for added protein and variety.
- Experiment with vegetables you might have on hand ... cut them thinly, similar to a stir-fry preparation.
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