This is a VERY thrown together version of traditional Pho, though there is little that is traditional about my version. Traditional Pho (pronounced “phuh”), is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine and culture. A hearty soup usually made with a clear beef or chicken broth that includes rice noodles and distinct flavors such as cinnamon, star anise, clove, basil, lime and more. There are many, many variations to this dish and it is often eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Last night, I had a head full of congested sinuses, wasn’t feeling so hot and I just wanted something hot, spicy and brothy. Pho was all I could think of, but I didn’t want to leave the house. I had to make it with what I had on hand in the refrigerator and pantry. I would have preferred to have included some tofu, star anise, bean sprouts and thicker more traditional rice noodles, but I made do with what I had. Mine was much thicker than traditional Pho is, since I cooked my rice noodles right in the broth, but the flavors were there, none the less. I have to say, it turned out pretty good, considering it was thrown together. Which is why I decided to share my faux recipe, to show you that you can always come up with something quick and fresh with what you have on hand.
Making this faux Pho, however has made me realize that I would really like to make a full on pot of traditional Pho very soon.
Vegetarian Faux Pho
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño, seeds and stem removed, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon cinnamon (I used ground because I didn’t have sticks)
1/2 tablespoon cloves (I used ground because I didn’t have whole cloves)
6 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use low sodium, gluten-free Tamari)
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
8 ounces rice noodles (all I had on hand was gluten-free rice spaghetti)
1 lime, cut into wedges
sriracha chili paste
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add onions, shallots, garlic, jalapeño, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, stirring occasionally until the vegetables turn clear and start to char a bit. Add the stock, soy sauce, basil and a squeeze or two of sriracha and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 25 minutes.
You can cook the rice noodles separately or if you are lazy like I was, just toss them right into the broth and cook them in there. By cooking the noodles in the broth, it made the broth very, very thick, but I didn’t care, I wanted fast and easy. I added the noodles, brought it to a boil then lowered the heat to medium-high and simmered until the noodles were cooked. About 10 minutes.
Ladle the broth and scoop a bunch of noodles out into large soup bowls. Serve topped with scallions, cilantro, a squeeze or two of lime juice and if you want it more spicy a bit more sriracha.