Vietnamese Pho – Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian – is a great gluten-free noodle dish since it’s made with rice noodles. The rich soothing broth is the key to a good Pho so take the time to make homemade broth before adding other ingredients.
It was a bit chilly today and it’s getting to be a real “Fall wanting to be Winter” kind of weather. And when it gets cold like this, I want soup, a hearty noodles soup, to be exact.
So I made Pho (pronounced Fuh) for dinner tonight, a Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup.
There are many MANY recipes for making this delectable and heart warming Vietnamese noodle soup. But the secret to making great Pho is in the broth and I discovered that dry roasting the spices is the key for a deep rich flavored broth. Some people broil vegetables and spices before adding them to broth. But I just dry roast the spices in the pot and I think it does the trick.
I never made or ate non-vegetarian Pho so I have no idea how others taste. But I assume, a vegetarian version has to be the original way that Vietnamese people made it because it is so flavorful and clean tasting that I can’t imagine why you would need to make it any other way.
Besides, meat must have been very expensive in Vietnam, long time ago, so they couldn’t have made it with meat originally. But if you want to make it with beef or seafood broth, then, you can certainly do that too. For beef broth, you’d have to simmer shank bones (with marrow inside) for about 3 hours instead of just one hour as in this recipe. But try this first. You won’t regret it.
I skipped sugar in this version too as I don’t think it’s necessary.
Read the entire recipe before shopping for ingredients. In addition to the list of ingredients below, you’ll need a 9 oz. package of rice noodles.
Vegetarian Vietnamese Noodle Soup or Pho
Vietnamese Pho Recipe - Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian Options
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp whole cloves
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 med onion roughly chopped
- 3" Ginger skinned and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Chili Pepper Flakes
- 4 c broth, vegetable, chicken, or beef
- 4 c water
To add to Simmering Broth
- 4 Cloves garlic roughly chopped
- ½ c cilantro, roots, stems and leaves roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 16 oz Rice Noodles
- 1 c Bean Sprouts
- ¼ c thai basil
- 2 thinly sliced scallions
- ¼ c chopped cilantro
- 1 Lime wedge
- 1 head Bok Coy optional
- 1 c Snow Peas optional
- 1 c Enoki Mushrooms optional
- 1 c Shiitake Mushrooms optional
- 2 med carrots julienned, optional
Non-Vegetarian Pho Topping
- thinly sliced Eye Round
- 1 lb. Shrimp
- 1 lb. cooked chicken breast
- In a large stock pot, put broth ingredients except "water" and "broth" and roast them on high heat until it starts to smoke a bit. Don't burn them. They should be just hot enough to start smoking in the pot. When it starts to smoke, add the rest of the broth ingredients and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Then, add 4 Cups of water and 4 cups of homemade or store bought vegetable broth. If non-vegetarian, use chicken or beef broth.
- Let broth come to a boil.
- Simmer for an hour.
- While the broth is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add rice noodles to the pot and boil for about 6-8 minutes or until cooked. When they are done, strain the noodles.
- After the broth has simmered for about an hour, add the topping vegetables, right before servingIf you add them too early, greens will turn brown. Not pretty. Of course, if you want to any other kinds of veggies, that's up to you. The original Pho only uses bean sprouts.
- Put the rice noodles in a bowl, add broth, bean sprouts, Thai Basil, scallions and cilantro as garnish.
- Squeeze lime juice before serving.
- For any non-vegetarian options, make your own broth by simmering bones for at least 4 hours, while discarding the brown scum so the broth is clear and without impurities.
- Seafood stock is easy to make and you can use shrimp as the meat of choice.
- Chicken stock is easy to make and adding cooked chicken as topping is delicious too.