Delicious Veggie Pho from Diana Warrings

his lovely veggie pho is bursting with flavours and is rather quick to prepare compared with a regular pho. I chose mushrooms as a plant based protein, but tofu works fine too or you could go for both if you like. Rice noodles or, for those of you who are carb-conscious, courgetti, complete this dish rather well.

From a nutritional perspective you can expect a fair share of antioxidants from all the fresh ingredients. They are added towards the end, which means they keep more of their nutrients than their cooked counterparts. Served in a soothing and warming veggie broth, a true late Spring dish! If you like a bit of heat in your pho, you can add some fresh or dried chilli to your liking.  Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients
1 tbsp of coconut oil
4 small cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 shallots sliced
1 medium hot chili – pierced or cut in half for more heat (remove seeds to control the heat)
2 stalks of lemon grass sliced
2 – 3 inches of ginger – finely chopped

Spice mix
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp of ground coriander
1/2 tsp of ground fennel seeds
1/2 tsp of dried ginger
2-3 ground black pepper corns
1/2 ground clove
1 tsp of coconut sugar (or mix in 1 – 2 tsp of 5 Chinese Spice)
1 – 2 tbsp tamari sauce
1.5 – 2 litres of organic vegetable stock
1 – 2 tsp of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

Garnish per person
1 – 2 carrots – finely sliced or shredded
3 – 4 dried (soaked) or fresh Shiitake mushrooms- per person
1 Jerusalem artichoke finely sliced or shredded (add some lemon juice to keep its colour)
1 – 2 spring onions –  sliced
1 cup of Cavolo Nero, savoy cabbage or kale (roughly chopped and blanched with boiling water)
1 – 2 tbsp mung bean and alfafa sprouts
1/4 fresh lime per person
1 – 2 cup of rice noodles or courgetti (optional)
Extra chilli – sliced (optional)
A handful of fresh mint, coriander, Thai basil- roughly chopped

Method
1. First heat the oil in a large pot and gently fry the ginger and shallots at medium to low heat until golden brown, then add the garlic and spice mix and cook for a minute or two to enhance the flavour of the spices. Keep stirring in order to mix spices and other ingredients well. Careful not to burn the spices, take the pot off the hob if needed. Next add hot vegetable stock, lemongrass, star anise and cinnamon stick – cover with a lid and simmer at a low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Cook the noodles according to the packaging until ‘al dente’, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. If using dried mushrooms, it’s best to soak them in cold water for a few hours. Hot water speeds up the process. Adding the soaking water to the broth gives it some deeper flavours.

3. Once the broth is ready, remove the whole spices by straining the broth through a sieve, return the clear broth to the pot, add tamari-sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, simmer for another few minutes before serving. I like to keep the spices in the soup for further infusion, but this is optional. If you leave them in, pour the broth into the bowls through a sieve.

4. In the meantime, prepare the garnish. Wash the vegetables. Peel and shred or thinly slice the carrots and Jerusalem artichokes (add some lemon juice). Slice the spring onions and roughly chop the Cavolo nero and then blanch. Roughly chop the herbs.

For extra freshness it’s best to prepare the vegetables a few minutes before serving. Serve the piping hot broth in a nice deep soup bowl with fresh vegetables, rice noodles, garnished with fresh herbs and bean sprouts. Add more tamari and chilli to taste.

Enjoy!

Diana Warrings is a Health & nutrition content producer, recipe developer & well-being cook.  IrmaGreen.com

Photo courtesy of and © Diana Warrings