As you may remember from my Mediterranean Dinner Party, I absolutely love creating meals with lots of items a la carte. I think it's such a fun way to eat -- choosing a little taste of everything you want going back for more if something is particularly tasty.
Typically, in a restaurant setting, the pho broth and noodles and maybe some veggies and tofu come in the soup. Then you get a plate with garnishes such as cilantro, lime, fresh jalapeño, bean sprouts, scallions, mint, basil, chilies, etc and you control how much of each garnish to put in.
I especially love the way just a little bit of fresh jalapeño immediately infuses the warm broth with spice! With pho, I always find to start with less garnish than you think you need and then add more once you have a sense of how the garnishes affect the taste of your broth.
A word about my tofu - I like crispy, dense tofu. In most Asian soups, you'll get big chunks of silken tofu which immediately break apart in the soup. The best part of making this dish at home is that I was able to cook my tofu separately and get my perfectly desired texture. If you prefer plain, soft tofu, feel free to skip that step and add tofu in right from the package.
The best Vegan Pho recipe:
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
YIELD: 1 large pot of Pho (garnishes were enough for 2-3 servings, so you could easily double or triple broth/noodle suggestions)
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 bundle thin udon noodles (can also use rice noodles or angel hair)
1 cup shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/3 block extra firm tofu, pressed
red chili pepper (optional)
hoison sauce (optional)
fresh mint (optional)
fresh basil (optional)
1. Boil 4 cups of water to cook noodles.
2. Meanwhile, press extra firm tofu. Combine soy sauce, sriracha, and garlic is a shallow dish. Cube tofu and allow to marinate for several minutes.
3. Wash and chop all garnishes.
4. Cook udon noodles for about 7 minutes or until soft and add two vegetable bouillon cubes to pot. Note I did not drain water once noodles were cooked, but rather allowed it to become stock.
5. Cook tofu in 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat until tofu cubes are crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
6. In the same pan, add more olive oil if needed and cook shiitake mushrooms.
7. Serve Pho immediately, while broth is still very warm. Garnish to taste. Enjoy!