Vegetable Pho

vPhoI learned about pho from my friend Jessica when she was having it for lunch at work one day.  I said, “What’s that? It smells delicious.” She learned about pho when she visited Vietnam.

The secret to great pho is the broth.  Beef pho broth comes from bones that are roasted and boiled days before serving the soup.  They provide a rich base and beefy flavor.

Vegetable pho is more challenging.  I have a favorite restaurant nearby that serves delicious vegetable pho, but they cheat. I can see fat in the broth which must come from chicken or beef stock.

This recipe is an adaption of several I found on the internet, truly vegetarian, even vegan.  I made a large pot of broth, used it to create three separate batches of v-pho served over several evenings.

For the broth
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 piece of ginger, about 2 in. peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 4 c. organic vegetable stock
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, your choice, sliced and diced
  • 1 tbsp. lemon grass paste
  • Char the onion in the broiler, about 15 min.
  • Dump all ingredients in a crock pot and cover
  • Allow to cook for eight (8) hours, low heat
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a spoon.  Discard the refuse remaining in the strainer, save every drop of the broth.

You can keep the broth in fridge for many days.  (Don’t worry, you’ll use it quickly once you taste it!)

For the Final Serving

These can vary depending on your tastes and what you can find in the fridge or store. I’m leaving out measures, because every thing scales according to taste.

  • rice noodles
  • broccoli florets
  • sliced mushrooms
  • baby boy choy, sliced in half, cleaned
  • cilantro
  • basil leaves, preferably Thai Basil
  • bean sprouts
  • basil, preferably Thai basil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Bring broth to a boil
  • Using a strainer, rinse and heat noodles under hot tap water
  • Add remaining veggies to broth, simmer for 6 minutes
  • Place warm rice noodles in serving bowls
  • Pour hot broth and veggies over noodles.
  • Add toppings to choice, eat, enjoy, repeat











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Born in Harrisburg, PA. Undergrad at Drexel University. Learned to ride a bike when six years old, riding ever since. Started cooking when I was in college, stopped when I got married, started again in 2006 when my wife was out of town for a few months. Jobs: worked at post office while in college to earn money to buy a stereo. After grad school, worked at a small software company in Redmond, WA for twelve years. Afterwards, went back to school to get a certificate, then started teaching high school. Still doing that off and on, part time as the need arises.

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