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 though, 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. Pho is a great gluten-free noodle dish since it’s made with rice noodles. It’s one of few noodle dishes we enjoy since we don’t eat wheat noodles anymore.
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
Vegetarian Pho RecipePrint
Dry Roasting Ingredients for Broth
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Whole Cloves
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 Medium onion roughly chopped
- 1/4 c Ginger skinned and roughly chopped (about 3" long)
- 1 tsp Chili Pepper Flakes Optional
To add to Simmering Broth
- 4 Cloves of garlic roughly chopped
- 1/2 c cilantro, roughly chopped with stems
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 16 oz Rice Noodles
- 1 Bunch of chopped cilantro
- 2 Thinly sliced scallions
- 1 Cup of Bean Sprouts
- 1 Lime wedge
- 1 Bunch of Bok Coy optional
- 1 Cup of Snow Peas optional
- 1 cup Enoki Mushrooms optional
- 1 Cup of Shitake Mushrooms optional
- 2 Carrots julienned optional
- Bones - shank knuckles
- Chuck for broth and Thinly sliced Eye Round for topping
- In a large stock pot, put "Dry Roasting Ingredients for 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 vegetable broth or store bought (I like this Pacific brand. Amazon Aff Link)
- Let broth come to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer for an hour.
- While the broth is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add rice noodles (like this Amazon link) to the pot and boil for about 6-8 minutes.
- After the broth has simmered for about an hour, add the above vegetables, right before serving. If 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 and vegetables, and liberally add scallions and cilantro as garnish.
- You can also add Hoisin Sauce and/or hot sauce to taste. Some people add a squirt of lime juice too.
- 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.