Call me a coward, but I’ve added ‘style’ to the title of this dish as I don’t want to deal with the backlash from the Pho purists out there. For me the quality of this dish is hinged on the quality of the broth and the tofu topping. It is notoriously difficult to get a good vegan broth, but I think this recipe manages it, I like my pho to be hot enough to make my nose run and just the right side of fragrant (the wrong side tastes like perfume or dishwater).
Cooking the broth is the most time consuming, and the recipe quantity will make enough for 4 portions, but the veg and noodle quantities only make 2. This is deliberate, as I think it’s a bit of a faff to make the broth so I would rather make double and freeze half, it does just pootle away cooking by itself, and as you are using root veg I find it easy to make when I’m doing a roast dinner. If you are feeding 4 you can double the noodles and veg etc, or you can halve the broth if you don’t want to freeze it. Please use the vegetables as a guide, add whatever you like to eat, it’s your dinner x
For the broth
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 1 tblsp vegetable oil
- 200g mix, carrots, celery and parsnip roughly chopped
- Stalks from coriander (leaves reserved)
- 2 chillis left whole but skin pierced
- 2 star anise
- 1 x tsp peppercorns
- 1 x tsp coriander seeds
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and bashed
- 1 stick cinnamon
- Thumb size piece ginger roughly chopped
- 1 tblsp dried mushrooms
- 3 litres water
- Brown the onion and ginger in a large pan. This is vital to get a good depth of flavour. Add all the herbs and stir for a couple of minutes to release their flavour.
- Add the other ingredients and bring to the boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and leave for at least 45 minutes but it’s fine if its an hour or so as well.
- If you are not using the stock immediately leave it to cool fully in the pan and then sieve and store in the fridge or freezer until needed. You will need 1.5 litres approx for 2 portions of Pho (this does depend on your bowls, and as you can see from the photo mine is not the best bowl, ideally you want a nice deep bowl so you can layer all your ingredients – I feel a shopping trip approaching)
For the soup bowls (aka Pho)
- 200g wide rice noodles
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 150g firm tofu crumbled to fine crumbs
- 1 tblsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp tamari
- 1 tsp miso paste
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp smokey paprika
- 2 spring onions finely sliced
- 4 mushrooms sliced
- 1 lime quartered
- 1 red chilli finely sliced
- 1 carrot into matchsticks
- 2 Pak Choi – quarter and then slice thick white ends, reserve the green leaves for the bowl
- Handful bean sprouts
- 6 baby sweet corn quartered
- Coriander leaves (stalks were used in broth)
- Handful Thai basil leaves (if you can’t get them just leave this out)
1. Firstly cook noodles according to instructions. Drain and cool in running water (this stops the cooking process) then toss in the sesame oil, split between two bowls
2. To cook the tofu, heat 1 tblsp vegetable oil in a pan and fry the tofu until crisp. Combine the tamari, miso, vinegar and paprika in a bowl and pour over the crispy tofu. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated, it should resemble crispy breadcrumbs. Set to one side to cool slightly.
3. On top of the noodles pile the bean sprouts, pak choi leaves, coriander leaves, mushrooms, chilli and Thai basil leaves if you have them.
4. Put carrot, corn and white parts of pak choi into a pan with the broth and bring to the boil, immediately remove from the heat and pour over the two bowls of noodles and share out the vegetables.
5. Top the bowls with tofu and spring onion, and serve with lime to squeeze over.
This is a wonderfully messy dish, I always manage to get it all over me, the table and usually my husband!