Sometimes it’s fun to go find recipes that are inherently vegetarian – things everyone eats that are already vegetarian. Think pasta or pierogies. Other times, it’s fun to take something traditionally meat-based and make it plant-based.
With a little help from my super fabulous kitchen assistant, this pho was made and promptly slurped up. The promptness of the eating had probably just as much to do with the deliciousness of this pho as it did with the fact that it was approaching 3am by the time we ate. Whoops. Although, this does make for pretty stellar late night eats, so I can’t really complain.
Any kind of Asian vegetables will work in this, so use whatever kind you like. Baby corn was a favorite here since they’re so small and adorable. Whichever vegetables you end up with, thinly slice them before adding them into the pho at the end. This will help them keep their crunch, but still cook a bit.
The stock is the most important component because pho traditionally has a very flavorful stock. Here, the onion and ginger are brûléed before getting tossed into the stock. Basically, it’s a cooler/fancier way of saying you cook them over the burner of the stove until burned.
When buying your rice noodles, go crazy. There are tons of them to choose from – whether you want them thinner or thicker is up to you. Follow your rice noodle dreams and find the perfect noodle for you and your pho. In this case, it was decided that thin was the way to go.
Looking at the recipe below, it looks like there’s a lot going on here but it’s actually pretty straight forward; stock, noodles, vegetables. Then you’re ready to pho. The end result is a lot of flavor and different textures, which keep this more interesting than your average noodle soup.
- 3 c. vegetables (here, I used mushrooms, snow peas, baby corn, bean sprouts, carrots, jalapeños & scallions)
- 8oz. thin rice noodles
- Sriracha, to taste
- Hoisin, to taste
- Fresh lime juice, to taste
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- 3 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
- 1 onion, halved
- 1½-inch piece ginger, sliced ½-inch thick
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 2 star anise pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cloves
- ⅛-¼ c. soy sauce
- 3 quarts water
- Fill a large pot with water and add the carrots, garlic, coriander, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves and soy sauce.
- Over high heat, place each half of the onion and the ginger slices on the grates and cook until blackened. Add to stock and bring stock to a simmer.
- As you prep vegetables for later, throw any scraps you have into the stock.
- Let stock simmer for about an hour.
- When the stock is just about ready, cook rice noodles in boiling water until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Drain vegetable stock into a large bowl and add in rice noodles, vegetables and any extras like sriracha, hoisin, lime juice and cilantro.