How to make Vegetarian Pho at home

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:

  1. Fry the spices on low heat until you smell the aroma (no need for oil). 
  2. Char the onions and ginger (this brings out the sweetness)

    INGREDIENTS

    For the soup

    Spices:

    Vegetables:

    • 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

    Sauces:

    Others

    • 6 litres of water
    • 500 grams rice pho noodles
    • Salt, pepper and sugar
    • Vegetable stock

    For garnishes

    INSTRUCTIONS

    • 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.

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