Pho is all about the broth and its seasonings, so a little effort and a good homemade stock will make a huge difference to this vegan- and vegetarian-friendly soup. Flavour balance will take a little trial and error, and as this recipe contains no meat or fish sauce, you’ll have to play around with the lime/hoisin/chilli sauce medley to find your perfect broth.
- 8 cloves
- 3 whole star anise
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1.25 litres (5 cups) vegetable stock
- 30 g (5 cm x 3 cm) ginger, finely sliced
- 25 g (10–12 small) dried shiitake mushrooms
- ½ brown onion, finely sliced
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- 3 sheets nori (see Note)
- salt and pepper
- 200 g carrots, julienned or shredded
- 150 g rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained
- bean sprouts
- sliced long red chilli
- fresh herbs such as mint, Vietnamese mint, coriander or Thai basil
- lime wedges
- hoisin sauce (optional)
- Chinese chilli sauce or sriracha chilli sauce (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine the cloves, star anise, coriander seeds and cinnamon stick in a medium size saucepan. Place over a medium-high heat and toast for 2–3 minutes until aromatic. Add the stock, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, onion and soy sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer.
Meanwhile, wave the nori sheets over a direct flame for 30–40 seconds until lightly toasted and crisp. Add the nori to the stock, season generously with black pepper and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the carrots, cover and simmer for 6–8 minutes until tender. Strain, reserving solids and stock. Return the stock to the saucepan, adjust seasoning to taste and place over a low heat to keep warm.
Remove the carrots and shitake mushrooms from the solids (discard remaining solids) and thickly slice the mushrooms.
Divide the rice noodles between two deep bowls and top with the carrots and mushrooms. Pour the hot stock over the noodles and top with beans sprouts, chilli and herbs. Serve with lime wedges, hoisin sauce and chilli sauce to the side.
• Nori is the dried seaweed most commonly used for wrapping sushi rolls. You can buy nori sheets in the Asian section of supermarkets or from Asian grocers. If unavailable simply omit.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgi Larby.
Seren Horton bowl (chilli sauce) from Funkis.