VIETNAMESE-INSPIRED NOODLE SOUP BROTH

THIS RECIPE WAS INSPIRED BY PHO. I’M NOT GOING TO CALL IT “VEGAN PHO”, BECAUSE IT’S NOT THE SAME AS PHO, AND I’M NOT VIETNAMESE.

IT IS DELICIOUS THO, AND HAVING EATEN IT, YOU’LL BE JUST AS SATISFIED. ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT THIS STYLE OF COOKING IS THAT THE BROTH IS FINISHED IN THE BOWL, BOTH WITH THE ADDITION OF THE STANDARD GARNISHES (ONIONS, CORIANDER, ETC.) AND THE DINER’S OWN SEASONINGS. -JRS

Some of the broth ingredients.

PREP: BROTH

INGREDIENTS

– 4-5  whole shallots, Asian if possible (or a couple of small onions)
– 1 carrot, sliced lengthwise
– 3-4 green onions
– 5-6 six cloves garlic, skin on
– 1 piece of ginger, about the size of your thumb, skin on
– 6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms
– 1 big lump yellow rock sugar (or another sweetener)
– 1 tbsp whole coriander seed
– 1 tbsp whole fennel seed
– 1 tbsp whole black pepper
– 1 stick cinnamon (about the size of your pinkie finger)
– 4-5 star anise
– 1/2 cup soy sauce

Burning.

BURN STUFF

Using a kitchen torch, blacken the shallots and ginger and lightly toast the garlic. (You could use a BBQ grill, or the broiler in your oven.) Double wrap everything in tin foil and let roast in the oven at 450°F for ten or so minutes.

Remove, let cool a little, and then open (the contents should be very fragrant). Use a wet cloth to remove the blackened bits—you don’t have to remove everything.

In the meantime, toast the whole spices, one variety at a time, in a dry pan over medium heat.

Add about 3 litres of water to a large pot, and toss in the carrot, green onion, dried mushrooms, spices, sugar, soy, as well as the shallots, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Let cook for 30 minutes.

Taste the broth. If it is starting to get bitter, remove the spices using a small strainer with a handle. Leave the vegetables and mushrooms in there.

Let simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Taste the broth again. You should be getting the warm and depth from the spices, the saltiness from the soy, the sweetness from the sugar. Adjust the seasoning with additional soy or sugar if needed.

FINISH: SOUP

INGREDIENTS

– Rice noodles
– Tofu, thinly sliced
– Green onion, thinly sliced
– White onion, thinly sliced
– Coriander
– Chili

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Place in a large bowl and spoon over the broth. Slice some tofu and some of the mushrooms from the broth and add to the bowl. Add garnishes, e.g. sliced raw onion, green onion, coriander.

Top with garnishes, e.g. sliced raw onion, green onion, coriander, chilli, and serve with additional garnish, soy and lime on the side.

It’s a damn fine soup.