Posted on September 10, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It’s about 70 degrees outside and I made Pho for dinner. Why? Cause I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I’d never made it before, so, why not?

I was first introduced to Pho by Shawn who found a Vietnamese noodle place in Merriville called Saigon Noodle House. I became addicted right away. Pho is such a great food because it is really customizable. You’re brought the bowl with your choice of protein, the broth and noodles. On the side you’re given Thai Basil, lime, bean sprouts, chili sauce and Hosien sauce (If you’ve never had Hosien, go get some now and put it on all the things). After that, you can make it as spicy as you like. I like mine pretty spicy.

I had originally planned to make a meat version of it, but making the broth includes beef marrow bones, and you weren’t going to find me going to Beef Mart just for that. So, I found this vegetarian version from The Kitchen and decided to give it a try. It was actually really easy to make, and only took about an hour from start to finish.

This was my largest shopping list to date, because I had to buy some spices I didn’t have. I discovered that the International aisle of my store had cheaper spices than the McCormick brand, so I probably saved myself about $10 just on spices. I had to substitute Udon noodles for the Pho noodles because my store just didn’t have any, along with the star anise, I looked and I looked, but there was none to be found. I used anise seeds instead.

Vegetarian Pho with Pan Fried Tofu

Here’s what to get from the store:

Pho Noodles
White Onion
Vegetable Broth
Star Anise
Cinnamon Sticks
Ginger Root
Whole Cloves
Soy Sauce
Hoisen Sauce
Red Chili Sauce
Bean Sprouts

Vegetarian Pho
(From The Kitchen)

For the broth:
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch cinnamon stick, preferably Vietnamese cassia-cinnamon
1 star anise
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock or broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

For the noodles:
1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở;)

For the Crispy Tofu:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, tumeric

For the toppings (choose a few):
Crispy Tofu
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, or broccoli

For the garnishes (choose a few):
1/2 large onion, very thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil,
Hoisin sauce, Sriracha, Red Chili Sauce

  1. To make the broth, char the 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.
  2. In a large pot, dry-roast cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When you can smell the aroma of the roasted spices, add vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.
  3. Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.
  4. Make the noodles while the broth simmers. Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20 to 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.)
  5. Prepare the toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, and so on. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.
  6. To serve, divide the noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle the broth between the two bowls. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

I purged a bunch of stuff from my place this week, 2 garbage bags of just garbage and almost 4 bags of clothes. It felt really good. I could probably get rid of some more things, but right now I want to make my place feel bigger. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy while at home because it’s become increasingly obvious most of my friends live in the city, so nights off turn out pretty boring if I can’t go up there. I can’t wait to be able to move up there.


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