Category Archives: Soup

Vegan Pho

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.

Vegan Pho

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
3-4 cloves
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

For substance:
Noodles
Tofu
Broccoli or other greens

For the garnishes:
Chilli
Lime
Coriander or Vietnamese Mint
Bean Shoots

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.

Minestrone

Oh hello winter!  I am so glad you’re here at last.  Winter, with your snugness and layers and capes.  Winter with your warm, comforting food, your long cooking times, your semi-hibernation.  Winter with your delicious minestrone soup, oh yes, I am happy to see you.

I know not everyone is as pleased to see winter as I am, but regardless of your feelings on the weather, this is one of the tastiest soups I’ve ever made.  I’m not sure what made it so different, but it was good.  Really good.  I was surprised by how good it was.  Maybe it was the organic veggies (I’m convinced they really are tastier). I was basically looking for a way to use up my veggie box veggies, and I’m so glad I went with soup.  Make it in big batches and freeze the leftovers (if they last long enough).

So Glad It’s Winter Minestrone

olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 bay leaves
a small sprinkle of dried herbs like thyme, tarragon, oregano, etc
2 tins beans (I like white beans but use your favourite)
2 tins tomatoes, chopped
2-ish cups of water or stock
lots of veggies, chopped (I used potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potato)
Salt & pepper

Optional, to serve:
Sour cream
Grated parmesan
Extra olive oil

Sauté the onion, celery and carrot in a little olive oil until they begin to soften and the onion becomes translucent.  Add the bay leaves and herbs and stir for a few minutes until fragrant.

Add the beans and the tomatoes.  Start adding the veggies, beginning with those that required longest cooking time first.  Add the next vegetable as the previous one starts to soften.

Once all veggies are added an cooked (don’t overcook!), season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle into big bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and top with sour cream and grated parmesan (optional, and vegan if you leave these out or substitute them).  Best served with a nice thick slab of sourdough and eaten beside the heater.

Noodle Soup

A few weeks ago, in the midst of stress about getting my confirmation report ready in time, and thinking I might need to move, I got a wee bit sick.  Just a cold, but I am a total sook about sickness, so I took to moping on the couch and eating comfort food for a couple of days.  Best medicine I know of.  The best comfort food for sickness is, of course, soup.  This soup is also full of all those things which are supposed to be good for helping you get better, like garlic and ginger and chilli.

First up, make the stock:

Stock

2 onions, quartered
1 bulb of garlic, smashed
2 red chillies, halved,
2 stalks of lemongrass, smashed
a biggish chunk of ginger, smashed
3 Kaffir lime leaves
Teaspoon of whole black peppercorns

Chuck everything into your largest saucepan, and allow to colour slightly.  Fill 3/4 full with water, bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for at least an hour or two (preferably longer).

Go watch a couple of episodes of something not-too-demanding until you feel up for the next bit.

Noodle Soup

Noodles of your choice
Tofu of your choice (I like silken in this recipe because it fits with the comforting theme)
Mushroom of your choice
Greens of your choice (I used broccoli because that’s what I had, but bok choy, choy sum, or plain old spinach would work just fine)
Eggplant
1 egg per bowl (optional)
Chilli sauce or oil (optional)

Put the noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak until soft.  Drain.

Cut the eggplant into bite-size pieces and fry in a little oil until soft.

Lightly steam the greens (I way overdid mine, as you can see from the picture).

Slice the mushrooms finely.

Cube the tofu.

Poach the egg.

To serve, put the noodles in the bowl, add the tofu and veggies, and pour hot stock over the top.  Top with the poached egg and chilli sauce if desired.  Cover with a plate and let sit for a few minutes to warm everything through, then nom and feel much, much better!