Vegetable Pho

From www.foodfanatic.com, by Lauren Keating
Vegetable Pho

Vegetable Pho Photo

I have no less than four quarts of homemade stock in my freezer at any given time. I love making it — it’s a great excuse to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon at home — but it also makes weeknight meals super easy. Just throw some frozen stock into a pot, heat it up, and add whatever odds and ends you happen to have in the fridge. In about 20 minutes, you’ll have a pot of delicious homemade soup.

Vegetable Pho Picture

Instead of sticking with classic stocks like chicken and beef, I’ve been mixing things up lately. One of my favorites has been vegetable pho stock. It takes a while to make, but it’s so full of flavor that you really don’t need to add much to it in order to have a delicious dinner.

To make the vegetable pho stock, start by charring an onion and some fresh ginger under the broiler.  While those are broiling, you’ll also want to toast your spices. I’ve tried a few recipes that skip these steps, and have found that it’s well worth the extra effort — toasting gives the aromatics a rich, smoky flavor and add a ton of depth and complexity to the stock.

Vegetable Pho Image

I finish my stock with fish sauce because it contributes to the classic pho flavor, but if you’d like a vegetarian or vegan version of this soup you can substitute soy sauce or tamari.

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When you’re ready to use your vegetable pho stock, soften some rice noodles in warm water and prepare your vegetables. I like to blanch snow peas, bok choy, and mushrooms – it’s a nice combination of fresh, bright flavor and rich umami flavor.

Vegetable Pho Pic

Then comes the best part: toppings! Let everyone top their pho how they’d like, with a combination of basil, jalapeno slices, sriracha sauce, and hoisin sauce. 

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Ingredients
For the Stock:

  • 2 onions, halved (leave skins on)
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, 3" long, split lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seed, (whole)
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 star anises, (whole)
  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 hot red chile pepper, halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce, more or less to taste

For the Soup:

  • 1 8-ounce package rice noodles
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 4-6 baby bok choys
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small bunch thai basil
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Optional Toppings:

  • sriracha chili sauce
  • hoisin sauce

Directions

  1. Broil onions and ginger for 5 minutes, or until they begin to char. In a sauté pan over high heat, toast the coriander, peppercorns, cloves, and star anise until fragrant.
  2. To start the stock, add the onion, ginger, toasted spices, dried mushrooms, garlic, chile pepper, basil, cilantro, and mint to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the stock is dark and golden in color.
  3. Strain, discarding the solids. Stir in the fish sauce to taste. Use immediately, or chill and freeze to use another time.
  4. To prepare the soup, soak the noodles in warm water for 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain and divide into serving bowls.
  5. Blanch the snap peas, bok choy, and mushrooms in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until vibrantly colored and just cooked. Drain and divide between the serving bowls.
  6. Ladle the stock into each bowl, over the vegetables and noodles. Top with Thai basil, jalapeño, lime wedges, sriracha, and hoisin, as desired.

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