Many of us know how delicious a bowl of pho is. When we are craving pho we normally head to a Vietnamese restaurant. Did you know you can easily make pho at home? You can also make it vegetarian style.
Some people think pho is too tricky to achieve at home:
“It must be so complicated to make.”
“I’ve heard someone say it takes them the whole day?!”
“You need so many hard-to-find items.”
We will let you in on a secret. Pho isn’t as hard to make as you think. Most of the prep goes in at the start. Put all the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer away and work its magic.
There are a few things you can do to enhance the flavour, so don’t skip those steps:
- Fry the spices on low heat until you smell the aroma (no need for oil).
- Char the onions and ginger (this brings out the sweetness)
For the soup
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 9 whole cloves
- 6 dried star anise
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon brown cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon black whole pepper
- 2 large brown onions
- 1 small knob of fresh ginger
- 1 leak
- 1 white radish
- 2 pears or apples
- 2 carrots
- 1 ear Corn
- 200 grams thinly sliced dried mushrooms
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons vegan fish sauce
- 6 tablespoons vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce
- 6 litres of water
- 500 grams rice pho noodles
- Salt, pepper and sugar
- Vegetable stock
- Bean sprouts
- Thai basil bunch
- Laksa mint
- Thinly sliced green onions (mostly green parts)
- Satay chilli
- Small wedge of lime
- Wash the dried mushrooms briefly.
- Soak the dried mushrooms overnight or a few hours in cold water. A quick tip from us: Place a plate on top of the mushrooms to ensure they are fully soaked in the water. Don’t drain the water afterwards. Use it to enrich the broth.
- Boil water on high heat.
- Slice the mushrooms into thin strips.
- Marinate the mushrooms with oyster sauce, sesame oil (optional), salt, pepper and sugar.
- While mushrooms are marinating, cut the leak, turnip, pear, carrots and sweet corn into chunks and toss them into the broth
- Char the onions and ginger, then remove the onion skin. The aroma and flavour from the seared onions and ginger produces hints of sweetness for the soup.
- Stir-fry the mushrooms until brown in garlic oil or normal oil (if you are not too keen on garlic). Transfer the mushroom into the stock pot.
- Dry fry the cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, black pepper, coriander seeds and cardamom pods in a pan to bring out the aroma. Place them in the cloth bag before adding into the pot.
- Simmer on medium heat for 1-3 hours. Season to taste using vegan fish sauce, salt, sugar, vegetable stock.
- Fry the tofu in vegetable oil over medium heat for roughly 5 minutes each side until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to absorb the excess oil. This step is optional.
- Blanch the fresh pho noodles for 2-3 minutes until cooked.
- In a bowl, add pho noodles, tofu and your preferred herbs like basil and mint. Ladle broth and veggies over top. Your restaurant-quality vegetarian pho is ready to serve!
Final thoughts, I am absolutely amazed by the taste!
Initially, I thought there is no way vegetables can bring out the flavour as much as the beef or chicken bones. I was wrong. The tangy and luscious flavour primarily comes from the fried mushroom in garlic oil, spices, charred onion and ginger! All the ingredients blend well together to promote a balance in flavours.