Pho is a delicious Vietnamese noodle soup flavoured with aromatic spices and garnished with bean sprouts, fresh herbs and lime. Traditionally pho is made with beef but we’ve kept it vegetarian and topped it with tofu, shiitake mushrooms and pak choi. This recipe takes a little longer to prepare as we suggest slowly cooking the broth to allow the flavours to intensify, but it’s well worth the effort.
1. Start by making the broth. Place a large pot on a medium heat and add the onions, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds and cloves. Sauté dry for 4-5 minutes until the spices begin to release their aromas and the onions begin to brown.
2. Add the dried mushrooms, stock and soy sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover with the lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour depending on how much time you have.
3. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms for 8 minutes until soft, then set aside.
4. In the same pan used for the mushrooms, add the chunks of tofu and fry for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly, then set aside with the mushrooms.
5. Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions. If using dried noodles, bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles for 10-12 minutes, then drain.
6. Once the stock has been simmering for 30-60 minutes, use a sieve to remove the onions and spices. Add the lime juice and any extra soy sauce to taste.
7. To serve, divide the mushrooms, tofu and pak choi between 2-3 bowls. Ladle over the hot broth and garnish with coriander leaves, lime wedges, chilli slices and bean sprouts.
For the broth:
1 large onion or 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp coriander seeds
15-20g dried shiitake mushrooms
1.5-2 litres stock made with 2 vegetable stock cubes
2 teaspoons soy or tamari sauce
Juice of half a lime
Drizzle of olive oil
120g shiitake mushrooms
120g firm tofu, cut into chunks (we recommend Taifun smoked tofu from Waitrose or Ocado)
150g rice noodles
1 pak choi, roughly chopped
Half a lime, cut into wedges
1 bunch coriander
2-3 large handfuls of bean sprouts
4 spring onions, sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced