Friday, March 24, 2006


Serve 8

Broth:2 large onions
6 cloves shallots
4 oz whole ginger (about 2 large)
16 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
8 whole star anise
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 medium parsnips (about 1.5 lb total)
4 cubes vegetarian bouillon (beefy or mushroom style)
4 oz TVP slices, beefy style (1 pkg)
1 oz dried tremella mushroom or 4 oz oyster mushrooms, optional
1/4 cup vegetarian fish sauce or Bragg Liquid Amino or soy sauce
12 cups water

Noodles:1 lb rice noodles for pho (1/4 inch wide)
1/2 medium onions
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh Thai basil leaves

Chili Garlic sauce or Sriracha hot sauce
Vegetarian Hoisin sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Lime wedges from 1 lime

Charring the vegetables:
  1. Peel the outer layer of the onions but not all the way, leave the last layer of the onion skin. Then, cut them in halves. Take each half and stud it with 4 whole cloves. You end up with 4 halves studded with 16 whole cloves.
  2. Pound the whole ginger (unpeeled) with something heavy like a pestle or the back of a cleaver, two or three times. Leave the skins on the shallots but rub them with paper towels to clean the outer parts.
  3. I use my oven broiler on high to broil the onion halves studded with cloves, smashed ginger roots, whole shallots on oily baking pan. Turn them over after 10 minutes. Keep turning until most of the surface are charred. This process takes about 30 minutes depending on how hot your oven is. They don't have to be all blackened and charred but the onions and shallots should become soft. Let them cool and set aside. At this point, they can be refridgerated in a container.

Making the broth:
  1. Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 12 cups hot water in a large soup pot or a 7-quarts pressure cooker pot.
  2. Take out some of the blackened skins of the onions, ginger, and shallots. Put them into the prepared broth.
  3. Wrap the star anise, cinnamon stick, and black peppercorns in a cheese cloth and then tie it tight with a string. Put this spice bag in the broth pot too.
  4. Peel the parsnips and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Put them into the broth pot. Boil this mixture for at least 1 hour. The faster method is to pressure cook them on high pressure for 30 minutes (this is what I did). Then use the quick release method when it is done.
  5. While the broth is cooking, reconstitute the TVP slices in warm water. Soak the rice noodles in warm water. If using dry tremella, tear them apart in pieces, and soak them in warm water. If using oyster mushrooms, wash them and tear them apart in large pieces. Slice the 1/2 medium onion very thin and soak them in water (to remove their strong juices).
  6. Get another large pot ready and strain the ingredients that were boiled in the broth by using a colander or cloth. I throw away all the parsnips, onions, ginger, shallots, and the spices (maybe someone has an idea for the use of them?).
  7. Drain the TVPs and tremellas. Put them in the hot broth and simmer until they are soft, about 20-30 minutes. If using oyster mushrooms, put them in the last 5 minutes since they cook quickly. I use my pressure cooker to cook them in high pressure for 2 minutes, then, use the quick release method.
  8. At this time, you can add the 1/4 cup vegetarian fish sauce or Bragg Liquid Amino or soy sauce. I found that I didn't have to add salt since the bouillon cubes were salty enough. You can add more soy sauce or vegetarian fish sauce too but usually I serve the noodles with it on the table.

Preparing the raw vegetables and herbs:
  1. Wash the beansprouts thoroughly and then drain them in colander. Wash the mint and basil leaves thorougly and then drain in a colander. Cut the mint and bail leaves from the stalks. Serve them raw on top of a serving plate (see picture above).
Assembling the noodle bowl:
  1. Boil 8 cups of water and throw in the soaked rice noodles and let it boil again, then drain quickly. Do not overcook the rice noodles which is done quickly in 2 to 3 minutes. It is not like pasta.
  2. Divide the drained noodles among large bowls. Drain the thinly sliced onions and divide them and put them on top of the noodles.
  3. Laddle the hot and boiling soup with the TVP slices and mushrooms on top of the noodles and serve them immediately with cilantro sprigs on top and the raw vegetables and condiments on the side. Tips: the broth needs to be boiling hot before you laddle it on the noodles.
Notes:About the base broth, it is important to use a good tasting 'beefy' or 'mushroomy' bouillon cubes. I use this brand of bouillon cubes: Porcini Bouillon cubes It was recommended byBryanna.
Dried tremella can be found in Chinese markets.

Nutrition FactsNutrition (per serving): 649.2 calories; 3% calories from fat; 2.7g total fat; 0.3mg cholesterol; 536.0mg sodium; 1800.0mg potassium; 141.8g carbohydrates; 11.1g fiber; 11.1g sugar; 130.7g net carbs; 22.0g protein; 12.4 points


Anonymous said...

What's Pho dinner?
My wife made me this dish last night, and this is the first PHO I had since I became a vegetarian almost four years ago. According to DA WIFE, it takes a lot of preparation, but it's worth the taste. We need to get a good "beef" broth in the future. many thanks for sharing the recipe.

Lucky Soy

Spice Island Vegan said...

Yes, true, it takes a lot of preparation and you can't just go home and take out your pot and the pho will be ready in 30 minutes. But I prepared the charred vegetables on the weekend and put them in the fridge. During the weekdays (work day), I can prepare the broth and everything in 30 minutes, using my pressure cooker.
This is already a short cut of the original recipe where you have to boil bone marrows and meat for hours.

It is worth it to eat in restaurant if you can find a veg Vietnamese restaurant. Lots of other veg restaurant don't serve it.

A recommendation of a good 'beef' broth other than the Porcini bouillon I recommended are: I bought it in Canada a few years ago under McCormick's brand per Bryanna's suggestion. I can't find it around here. The company said Super Target has it.

I haven't tried Bill's Best but heard that it is good:

Broth or bouillon cubes/powder are essential in vegetarian cooking so you will need to always have good ones in hand.

Thanks for the visit.


Harmonia said...

This sure does look and sound interesting!

I'm new to hoisin sauce so this may be one to try

Virginie said...

I'm glad to discover your "exotic" blog. I'll come back.