Last year we visited Vietnam and I had the opportunity to see the locals make the infamous broth for the Pho soups. Pho is pronounced as 'FUH' is a clear broth that is made by boiling spices and aromatics for hours in a huge sauce pan till it is reduced and gets a gorgeous golden colour. Since I am predominantly a vegetarian I decided to make the broth sans any seafood or meat added to stock !
In Vietnam they make the broth in the evening and they let it simmer for hours and then let it infuse overnight which gives it that balance of flavors! If you have time on hand make the stock and use it the next day however my instant stock recipe will still knock your socks off !! Remember this is a recipe actually inspired by the streets vendors in Vietnam.
Here is the recipe for Vietnamese Vegetarian Pho- A clear broth with vegetables and noodles.
- The Broth ingredients:
- Cinammon Sticks - 2
- Cloves - 4-5
- Coriander Seeds - 1 tablespoons
- Black Cardamon- 1
- Peppercorns - 4-5
- Ginger - 2 inch piece
- Brown Onion - 1 big one
- Soya Sauce - 1 tablespoon
- 6 cups of water
- Vegetable stock cube
- Olive/ Peanut Oil- 1.5 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- The Vegetables and Paneer :
- Green Cabbage- 1 cup shredded
- Red Birds Eye chilli- 2-3
- Onion - 1/2 chopped lengthwise
- Button Mushrooms- 4-5 sliced
- Oyster Mushrooms- 4-5 sliced
- Any Asian greens/ baby spinach - chopped- 1/ 2 cup
- Paneer/ Tofu - Cubed
- Oil- 1 tablespoon
- Rice/ Egg Noodles - 200 gms
- Salt to taste
- The Garnish
- Brown Onion- 1/2 chopped lengthwise
- Coriander leaves - a few
- Birds Eye Chilli - 1 chopped
- Bean Sprouts - 30 gms (Optional)
- Basil leaves - a few (optional)
- Lemon- half
- Take a Saucepan and add 6 cups of water to it. Next crush a vegetable stock cube and mix it well.
- Take a pan and add the oil once heated add roughly chopped onion and ginger slices and lightly brown it. Just chop the onion into 8 big pieces. Once they brown add them to the water and vegetable stock mixture.
- In the same pan add the whole spices and roast them till they are fragrant for about a minute. Add these roasted spices to the mixture as well.
- Now keep this saucepan on low flame, add salt and sugar and soya sauce and mix well. Cover with a lid and let the stock simmer for 35-40 minutes.
- Your kitchen will be permeating with aromas of the aromatics and whole spices and will be making you very hungry. Once the broth is ready keep it aside and let it infuse. As I stated before if you have time on hands make this the night before and let it infuse overnight to get a richer flavour.
- While the broth is infusing, take a pan add half the oil and now stir fry the onion and chillies and the paneer/ tofu cubes for a minute add salt to taste and keep it aside.
- Next add the remaining oil and add the mushrooms and stir fry for a minute. Add salt to taste and keep aside.
- In the same pan add cabbage/ Asian greens and stir fry for a minute and add salt to taste and keep aside.
- Cook/ blanch the noodles as per packet instructions and once cooked drain and keep aside.
- By now the broth should have infused, now strain it through a sieve. This is the final broth ready. Keep this strained broth back on medium-high flame and let it heat till it gets to a boil.
- Take a soup bowl, add enough broth and then add noodles to it. Next add the stir fried onions, chillies, mushrooms, cabbage and paneer/tofu.
- To garnish add some raw onions some raw birds eye chillies and sprigs of coriander. If you have basil and bean sprouts add them on top as well.
- Vietnamese Vegetarian Pho Soup - a clear broth with vegetables and noodles is now ready. Serve it with a lemon wedge and some chilli oil.
Photography- Ankit Mehan
I am leaving you with a few memories of our Vietnam trip. Have a great week ahead.