January 19, 2012
Richly flavored Vietnamese noodle soup
1 large onion, peeled and cut in eigths (cut quarters in half)
2-inch (5cm) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch (7.5cm) cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups (1 litre) unsalted vegetable stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (225g) dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở; use 1/16", 1/8", or 1/4" width depending on availability and preference)
Protein such as fried or baked tofu or toasted peanuts, bean curd skin, or seitan
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, or broccoli
2 scallions (spring onions), thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup (115g) bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro (coriander), Thai basil, cilantro/saw-leaf herb
Dash of hot sauce
Hoisin sauce, Sriracha (optional)
Prepare the broth
Caramelize the onion and ginger by quickly sauteeing.
In a large pot, dry roast the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When the spices are aromatic, add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.
Prepare the noodles
While the broth is simmering, place the 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.)
Add the toppings (optional)
While the broth is simmering, prepare the toppings as desired: slice and cook the tofu, lightly steam or blanch the vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.
Divide the noodles between two bowls. Arrange the toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups (500ml) of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.
Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com.
Read more from the Guide to Meat-Free Meals