Phở is traditionally made with a strong beef broth, and normal vegetarian renditions which merely omit the meat taste bland and seriously lacking flavour. We’ve put together this full flavoured broth using some great ingredients, fresh spices and herbs that will challenge even the yummiest traditional beef broth pho. It’s now one of our favourite comfort foods, and very customizable to what fresh ingredients you have in your kitchen. The broth and noodles are the only staple, everything else is up to you!
Recipe: Vegetarian Phở
For the broth
– 1 large onion, peeled and halved
– 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
– 1-2 pcs Kaffir Lime Leaves
– 2-3 pcs Peri Peri Chillies depending on how spicy you want it. You can also omit the chillies if you want a milder flavour
– 5g ginger powder (fresh ginger is ok, but powder’s flavour gets absorbed much, much better)
– 1 stick of cassia cinnamon
– 1 star anise
– 3 whole cloves
– 1 teaspoon (3g) coriander seeds
– 4 cups vegetable stock (or substitute with 20 grams mushroom powder and 4 cups water)
– 2 teaspoons soy sauce
– 4 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped into big chunks.
For the noodles
– 200g dried flat noodles (known as bánh phở)
For the toppings (choose what you like)
– Bok Choy
– Fried Tofu
– Shredded Cabbage
– 1 red chilli pepper, sliced
– 1 lime, cut into wedges
– handful of beansprouts (Optional)
– handful of fresh herbs: mint, sweet basil, parsley work best (Optional)
– chilli sauce (Optional)
To make the broth
1. In a deep saucepan, first fry the onion halves. They should blacken on the sides, and get a little softer. Fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
2. Rinse the onion with water to remove most of the char.
3. In the same pot, roast the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, peri peri chillies and coriander on a low heat for 2-3 minutes.
4. Now add in the vegetable stock, onion, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, soy sauce and carrots.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and let it cook for 30 minutes or longer.
6. Strain out the whole ingredients and keep it on low gas flame to stay warm. You can also make the broth in larger batches and freeze the extra broth for convenience.
Making the Phở
1. Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water to rehydrate them. It will take about 20-30 minutes until they become the right chewiness. You can eat one to make sure it isn’t still too hard. Then drain out the water.
2. Cook the toppings in a saucepan by frying in oil until cooked. Then keep aside.
Putting it together to Serve
1. In two large bowls, lay in the cooked noodles and toppings.
2. Pour in the hot flavoured broth.
3. Add garnishes to taste at the table. We like to add everything to make it a full circus of flavours.