Sunday, April 1, 2012

VEGAN "PHO"

Yesterday I was feeling a bit risky in the kitchen, so I decided to tackle one of my cooking fears and try my hand at a traditional Vietnamese dish. "Pho", is a rice noodle based soup normally containing beef ingredients, but can easily be transitioned into a "Vegan friendly" version; luckily, I discovered the perfect recipe in one of my own personal cookbooks to try my hand at.
Needless to say, I was quite proud of the ending result, and shamelessly  ate BOTH servings on my own; I believe this will be a new Sutton household favorite for meal time!

Here is the recipe below!
Broth
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch cinnamon stick (preferably Vietnamese cassia-cinnamon)
1 star anise 
2 cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely choppedNoodles1/2 pound dried brown rice noodlesToppings (optional)
Protein such as fried or baked tofu, or seitanGarnishes
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeƱo), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, culantro/saw-leaf herb
Hoisin sauce
For the broth
Char onion and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water. In a large pot, dry roast cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When spices are aromatic, add vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.

Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.
For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)

For the toppings (optional)
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.

To serve
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.


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