Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vegetarian Pho I Love You So!

Vegetarian Pho... this recipe has taken months to perfect. I started dreaming about it long before I ever attempted to put it all together in a cooking pot. Who knew a Vietnamese Meat soup could moonlight as a vegetarian?

The list of ingredients: Ok, so I have tried to alter the ingredients so you don't have to march off to your nearest China Town (as much fun as that is) to make this soup. Pho is all about simplicity and the explosion of aromatic flavors. My hope is with a little rummaging through your own baking spices and with the help of your local grocer you too will be able to concoct this amazing-soul-warming soup.

1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Whole Star Annis
6 Whole Cloves
1 TSP Paprika
1 TSP Cayenne Pepper
8 Cloves Garlic
1 Shallot
1 TBS Fresh Chopped Ginger
1 Cup White Wine (I like to use Pinot Noir)
1/4 Cup Peanut or Safflower Oil
1/2 Yellow or White Onion
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Shitaki Mushrooms
3 TBS Soy Sauce
3 TBS Rice Vinegar
5 Cups Water
1 Carrot Peeled and chopped
1 Small Bok Choy Chopped
2 Cups Soba, Udon, or Rice Noodles
To Garnish:
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
1 Cup Fresh Basil
2 Jalapenos Sliced
1 Lime Cut into Wedges

Optional: Add Morning Star Fake Beef or Chik'n strips for an extra protein flavor boost! Or add tofu when you add the water, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to the broth.

1.Cut a 6X6" square of cheese clothe. Place the Cinnamon Stick, Star Annis, and Whole Cloves into the center of the square. Gather the ends of the square and tie off the top with cooking twine. Set aside.
2. In a large pot pour the oil into the bottom. Add the chopped garlic, shallots, and onion. Cook until onion is translucent and garlic is slightly browned
3. Add the spice sachet from step 1 and add the paprika, cayenne, ginger, and white wine. Let simmer for one minute.
4. Cut the mushrooms and add to the pot. Cook until they have released their water and have reduced in size.
5. Add the 5 cups of water, soy sauce, rice vinegar. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
6. In a separate pot bring 4-5 cups of water to boil. Once the water is boiling add the noodles and reduce heat. Let the noodles stand in the hot water until soft. Drain the noodles and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
7. Add the chopped carrot and bok choy to the broth. Let cook for 5 minutes.
8. Combine the noodles with the broth.
9. Serve in a large bowl with the garnish on top or on the side.

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