Truth be told, I have never eaten Pho. I haven’t the foggiest what it is supposed to taste like. This is because by the time I discovered Pho, I was already a vegetarian. For those who don’t know, Pho (pronounced “fur” without the “r” sound) is a beef noodle soup from Vietnam (NOTE: Thanks to neihtn’s comment regarding Pho. It could be made from beef, chicken, fish or seafood not just beef). It is thought to have been created as a street food in early 20th century by street vendors but is pretty much the national dish of Vietnam at this time. The idea is pretty simple – cook some broth, some rice noodles and some savory meat, toss it all together and garnish with some lime, green chilies and cilantro.
So with no actual experience to guide me towards a taste profile, I just decided to go and make a good noodle soup with this post as my guide (click here). Turned out well but I am always looking for suggestions to improve it.
INGREDIENTS (for broth)
- 1 leek chopped up
- 1 inch piece of ginger chopped fine
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 star anise
- 1 cube of vegetarian bouillon
- Water (enough to cover all the ingredients and then some)
- ¾ tablespoon Chinese five spice
- 1 Tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
1. Let everything come to a boil and then simmer covered for an hour or so. Add more water if needed.
2. Strain to get the solids out.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE “MEAT”
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic – minced
- 8oz of some flavorful mushroom – I used baby portobello
- 1 10 oz can of fake meat – you can get mock duck, chicken etc at a Chinese grocery store. You can also use firm tofu instead.
- A handful of bean sprouts
- Soy sauce
- Sriracha sauce
- Black pepper
1. Heat oil on high heat and saute onion and garlic till the onion starts to become translucent.
2. Add the mushroom, fake meat, bean sprouts and mix in. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
3. Add soy sauce, sriracha sauce and black pepper to taste. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes and you are done.
INGREDIENTS FOR NOODLES
- 1/4 of a packet of rice noodles.
1. Bring water to a boil. Take it off heat.
2. Add the noodles and let them soak for a few minutes until limp.
3. Drain water.
NOTE: DO NOT boil rice noodles. They cannot handle the high heat and become a mess.
1. Take a handful of noodles in a bowl.
2. Cover with broth.
3. Spoon a generous helping of “meat”.
4. Garnish with lime, chilies and cilantro and serve hot.
5. Adjust seasoning to your taste and enjoy.