Okay so don’t get me wrong I love traditional Beef Pho. LOVE IT. But I don’t have time to simmer a bunch of beef bones for 8 hours… nor do I have time to roast a brisket and make meat balls and thinly slice a bunch of marbled steak…. If I want beef pho I just go to one of my favorite haunts and order up a delightful bowl for $7-10 depending where it is. And I’m sorry but the time if would take me to make my own – HA I would rather pay someone else to do it! And do it very well.
Maybe next time I do a run to my local Asian superstore I will grab some thinly sliced beef from their bounty of a freezer section and make an attempt…. Nahhhhhh. I will just go to Baoqi here in Vancouver. The spicy beef soup is amazing and unlike any I have tried. Oooh and the glass noodle seafood soup…. Mmmm and the Banh Mi and the steamed tapioca in banana leaves and the pomelo salad…. They truly are a special gem. Everything they do is delicious. Okay so now I want to go there and order one of everything. Sigh. I used to live on the same street – so yeah we used to eat there a fair bit. It’s the type of place you could picture Anthony Bourdain raving about on one of his shows. It’s THAT GOOD.
Until then, I have only ever made Veggie Pho. Now I would call it vegetarian or even vegan, but I use fish sauce! So if you don’t eat fish you can adjust it thusly.
This was a particularly busy day where I don’t even know how I managed to make a veggie pho to be honest, let alone a piece of buttered toast. We were packing and organizing for our trip…. Egads. Next time we are getting delivery! But I did, so here it is. However I just have one lonely only photo to share with you. But it’s a hunger inducing cutie ain’t it?!
Now I am quite behind in my posting. This was from a few weeks ago, in all honesty! So I will try my best to recall what I actually did.
Hmmmmmm… I have made this before so I think it will end up being an amalgamation of the last two versions.
Hope you like it. And feel free to adjust to your own tastes and preferences! That’s what I do 😀
If you don’t have time to make your own stock from scratch (which I didn’t this time) then just buy a couple cartons of low sodium veggie stock and simmer it with the spices, ginger, charred onion, lemon grass, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce for a while til tasty. Then strain out. But if you are going for gusto (like I did the first time) then check out my favorite stock options (hardihar) below.
- 2-4 charred onions (4 small or 2 very large – by charred I mean thrown in very hot oil to burn the edges, or you could roast on high heat in the oven til you have some nice dark spots – basically this adds a sweet/smokines)
- 4 charred carrots (can do with the onions or can be raw if can’t be bothered)
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 yellow bell pepper (outsides cut into thick strips. Optional but I like the brightness it imparts)
- fennel bulb (trimmed of stalks and rough bottom/ sliced in half)
- 8 cloves garlic (peeled and trimmed)
- fresh ginger (large chunk trimmed and peeled)
- 1 – 2 stalks lemon grass (smashed and bashed a bit to release flavours. I have made it without and it was fine too – if you cannot find it)
- 4 star anise
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or more to taste)
- water to cover (but if using a huge pot don’t overdo the water. You want your stock to have flavour!)
NOTE: I have noticed a lot of veggie pho stock recipes have dried mushrooms. So feel free to try that too! I might try adding some shitake next time.
Boil til all the veggies have imparted as much flavour as they will. Check after an hour. If doing cartons of stock because low on time then check flavour after 30 minutes.
Bits & Pieces:
Adjust to what you like. But these are my favorites!
- Broccolini (or broccoli or gai lan as pictured)
- Snow Peas (not pictured as I didn’t have any on hand)
(The veggies are so easy because you can literally throw a steamer on top of your simmering stock and cook them in one pot!)
- Soft tofu (sauteed in garlic and olive oil)
- Cooked rice noodles (the kind you would use in pad thai work great!)
NOTE: Cook the noodles per the package-ish – i.e. a little less than you would normally. They continue to cook in the hot soup. You want them to be chewy and retain their integrity and not break down too quickly. Once they are done drain and rinse with cool water and shake til no more water dripping. Set aside. You can toss a little oil on them to keep from sticking if you want. But you can also just rinse them again before putting in bowls to loosen the noodles.
NOTE: I haven’t tried mushrooms before because I find them generally weird in brothy soups – that’s just me. But I may try adding some sauteed shitakes next time ON TOP of the soup. If I do and I like it then I will update with a new photo 🙂
- Fresh basil
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh bean sprouts (washed and drained)
- Fried shallots (slice shallots, fry in olive oil, drain til dry)
- Thinly sliced scallions (or white onion)
- Hot chili oil
- Hoisin sauce
- Fresh lime
Portion out noodles in bowls. Top with veggies. Pour in broth. Top with tofu, shallots, bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and all the accoutrements you have decided to go with.
Sauce it and slurp it. That sounds gross haha.
Whatever. Eat your dang soup.