Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Pho is a Vietnamese soup that is usually served with meat and it's broth is heavily relied on beef. The soup also consists of rice noodles, basil, cilantro and bean sprouts. Hoison sauce and Sirachi sauce are also served on the side, which help to bring sweetness and spicy-ness to the soup. Altogether, a great combination but a real challenge into creating a vegan Pho recipe, since its main ingredient is meat.

I order Pho a lot from a nearby restaurant and I decided that the time has finally come for me to figure out how to make my own. I searched many sites on vegan and non-vegan Pho recipes and combined them to come up with what I am posting today. Adding mushrooms to the stock really helped to bring a meaty and deep flavor to the broth. That's the one ingredient that I think played a big part in helping it to come all together.

For the clear broth, if you want something simpler, you can use a Chinese clear stock recipe that I believe only contains 5 ingredients. But I would again suggest adding mushrooms to the stock. And of course, the more ingredients you add, the deeper and richer the broth will be.

Lastly, I also sliced up some firm tofu ( that had been pressed and drained ), brushed a little olive oil on each slice and baked it at 380 F for about 12 minutes. You can also pan fry the tofu for about 4 to 5 minutes each side on medium heat. I also threw in some seitan that I had made previously and stored in the freezer. If you want to keep it simple, serve it alone with rice noodles or purchase some already made "beef" or "chicken" strips. You really can't go wrong with Pho!

Serves 4 to 6

For the Broth

* 2 onions, un-peeled and quartered
* 8 garlic cloves, halved
* 1 inch piece of ginger, coarsely sliced
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 4 pods of star anise
* 4 cloves
* 2 tsp coriander seeds
* 2 tsp fennel seeds
* 2 tsp or 1 pod of cardamom
* 8 cups clear Asian vegetable stock ( recipe below )
* 3 Tb soy sauce
* salt to taste

For the Soup

* 1 pound rice noodles
* 1 ( 14 oz ) container of Firm Tofu, fried and sliced
* 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
* a good handful of basil, mint and cilantro, left whole
* 1 lime, cut into wedges
* hoisin sauce
* sriracha chili paste

To make the broth
1. Turn your broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each.

2. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.

3. Heat a small pot over medium/high heat. Add the spices ( cinnamon, star anise, cloves, coriander, fennel seeds and cardamom. )

4. In a large pot, add 1 tsp olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two, or until it just starts to brown and become fragrant.

5. Add the spices, the charred onion and ginger, the vegetable stock and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes.

6. Strain into a clean pot and discard the solids. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary. Keep warm over low heat.

7. While the broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover and soak for 15 minutes.

8. When you are ready to assemble the soup, add the seitan or tofu to the warm broth and allow to heat through.

9. Drain the soaked rice noodles and divide evenly among 4 to 6 large bowls. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the seitan or tofu out of the broth and distribute among the bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles. Serve the bowls of pho with the bean sprouts, herbs, lime wedges, hoisin sauce and chili sauce on a separate platter so that everyone can season their own soup as they wish.

Asian Vegetable Stock
Makes 8 cups
* 10 cups cold water
* 1 yellow onion, halved
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
* 2 celery stalks
* 1/4 pound button mushrooms, with or without stems
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 parsley sprigs
* 2 stalks lemongrass, crushed or coarsely chopped
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
* 1/2 cup shiitake mushroom stems
* 1 bunch cilantro stems
* 1 bunch basil stems
* 1 ( 1 inch ) piece kombu sea vegetable
* 4 peppercorns

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 hour. Strain.


  1. Lovely! I too have a fav veggie pho spot, but have always wanted to try my own. Cloves are an interesting addition - star anise, I knew was traditionally in there, but cloves are news to me!

  2. I have only made pho once, and I at the time I didn't have any star anise. I also did not char the onions, I bet that adds a lot to the broth. Yours looks wonderful and chock full of good things - I bet this homemade pho really is worth all the work you put into it.

  3. Pretty soup, Jacklyn, and it looks scrumptious. I've been meaning to post my Pho recipe too;) Yours looks excellent though and super healthful to boot!

  4. Julia - Yeah I had no idea what other spices went into Pho except for star anise. I looked at a traditional Pho recipe to find out exactly what spices were needed : ]

    Jessica - Star anise adds a lot to the broth. I am sure the broth will be richer next time you make it. I didn't think about charring the onions either until I read an authentic Pho recipe. It does make sense that it would add a little more flavor though : ]

    Stella - Oh you must post it! I want to read yours and see what you did differently!

  5. This looks like an absolutely amazing dish!! I love Asian soups and the Asian vegetable stock recipe you have included sounds so good, so many awesomely tasty ingredients!!! I want a big bowl right now!

  6. I like this rice noodle, didn't know it's called Pho though.

  7. This looks incredible! I would absolutely love to try it. :)

  8. I am really excited to try this recipe. I have a quick question though- for the veggie broth the instructions read "cover and simmer for 45 hour." Is this correct? Or should it read 45 minutes or 4-5 hours? Thank you!

  9. Made this and it was soo delish! I'm obsessed with pho and this is a really great at home recipe. Next time ill double the amount. I personally think its even better the next day. Thanks a ton for the recipe!