It’s cold in Melbourne. I’ve been in the US for the last couple of months, and I’ve returned to a welcome-home dose of tonsilitis. So I’ve been staying in, rugging up, and eating soup. Specifically, pho, which is quite possibly the best soup ever invented. Rich and aromatic and spicy and delicious pho.
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup traditionally made with beef stock and flavoured with cinnamon and star anise. I find a rich mushroom stock to be an excellent veg*n alternative to beef, but if you’re pressed for time or just don’t feel like making stock from scratch, you can use any good vegetable stock.
I wasn’t going to post about it until I remembered to take some photos, but I’ve been talking about it on the twitters and had a few requests for the recipe, so here it is. Pictures may come later.
For the broth:
1 litre of good vegetable stock
1 large onion, quartered
1-2 inch chunk of ginger,
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
Broccoli or other greens
For the garnishes:
Coriander or Vietnamese Mint
Put a large pot over high heat.
Cut the ginger into 3-4 pieces and whacked with the side of the knife to bruise. Add the onion and ginger to the pot and cook for around five minutes, until scorched and charred.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the spices. Toast the spices for 1-2 minutes, just until they become aromatic. Be very careful not to burn or everything will be bitter and ruined.
Add the stock, starting with a little at a time. It will splutter against the hot pan, so be careful. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce, taste, and add more if you think it needs it.
Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients. Cube and fry the tofu. Prep the noodles according to packet directions. At the last minute, very lightly steam your greens.
Prep the garnishes. Finely chop the chilli, clean and pick the coriander or Vietnamese mint, cut the lime into wedges, and wash and trim the bean shoots. Put them all in separate dishes ready to serve.
Your broth should be done by now – have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Get a big bowl. Fill with noodles. Top with tofu and greens. Ladle over steaming hot pho broth. Serve with the garnishes on the side. I recommend squeezing a metric tonne of lime juice over everything, but go easy on the chilli because it tends to sink to the bottom and get hotter as you go.
Eat and be happy.