Friday, February 1, 2013

Vegan Pho with a New Ingredient!

My mom dropped by Costco the other day and picked up this amazing treasure: a container of dried gourmet mushrooms. It contains 25% dried procini, 25% shiitake, 25% yellow boletes and 25% oyster mushrooms. My gooodness, there are so many things I could do with such an ingredient. Sauces, soups, fillings, dips...etc. etc. etc. I used it today to make a simple gourmet vegan pho broth and it is so blissfully delicious.

Vegan Pho Broth
Serves: 2

3 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup dried gourmet mushrooms, rinsed as instructed
2 black cardamon pods
1 stick cinnamon
3 star anise
1/2 yellow onion, charred and peeled
1 ginger, charred and peeled
6 vegan mushroom balls or vegan meatballs
salt to taste

Bring water and  mushrooms to a boil. Lower heat and simmer the cardamon, cinnamon, and star anise for 5 minutes (you can add the spices to a spice bag or tie it up in a coffee filter to avoid serving the spices). Add the ginger and onion and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Season with salt to taste, add the meatballs and bring it up to a boil.

1 package frozen pho rice noodles, cooked according to package or dried ones, soaked in warm water overnight and cooked for 2 minutes in boiling water

1 small white onion, thinly sliced
 2 partially poached eggs (optional!)

1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/4 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/4 bunch of Mexican coriander, "ngo gai"

In a small bowl, mix all the fresh herbs together. Set aside.

Beans sprouts and Thai basil leaves
lime wedges
Sriracha sauce and hoisin sauce

Prepare two large bowls with portioned noodles. Top with white onions and partially poached egg for each bowl. While the broth boils, ladle the broth over the onions and egg then add the meatballs from broth. Add a spoonful of the fresh herbs on top. Crack fresh black pepper over your dish, serve hot and with the condiments of bean sprouts, basil, lime, Sriracha and hoisin.

!! For vegan pho, opt-out of the egg and use seasoned and pan-fried extra-firm tofu!
!! If you can't find dried mushrooms, using a fresh mixture of portabello and button mushrooms works swell as well, just simmer the portabello first then add the button mushrooms with the meatballs.
!!You can opt out on some of the condiments but I really recommend trying to find the Mexican coriander for the fresh herb mix. It's a must-have when you want to appreciate the aromatic appeal of pho, whether vegan or non-vegan.



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