Spiced Pho

This is a good one. Spicy, scrumptious, and kinda sweet. It actually is pretty spicy so if you are sensitive to spice, I recommend putting less dried red pepper flakes or none at all. But if you’re like me and put spice on any and every thing, don’t worry, this soup isn’t lacking.

If I were to describe the taste of this soup, it mostly resembles Pho Bo. It actually has a lot of resemblance to Pho Bo, but no beef, and with a sprinkle of Destiny all over it. The most important ingredient, of course.

Make sure when you go to buy rice noodles you are getting the very thin ones. The ones I bought, they called them ‘rice sticks’. Thicker noodles will not slide in this recipe, you will understand after you try it. Also as always, stir the noodles real good after you put them into the soup, as rice noodles can stick together pretty well.

This soup is probably the favorite child. I know I shouldn’t pick favorites, but I’m very proud of it! Some Asian cooking can be difficult and very precise at times, and since the closest Vietnamese restaurant is 5 hours and a whole mountain range away, I was so happy when this turned out perfect! You can really add a lot of different veggies to this soup, but I feel as if the mushrooms, carrots, and bell pepper give it the most authentic taste.

It may have took a while, but boy it was worth it. If you’re looking for something a little different this week, don’t be scared to try this recipe. It’s very simple! That was important for me being new to Vietnamese cooking. The spices are wonderful and will give you the new flavor in your diet you’ve been looking for!

Enjoy this little number, and of course comment with ideas or what you all thought of it! Contact me with any questions about substitutions.

Spiced Pho:

1 very small onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin

2 cloves or 2 tsp of finely chopped garlic

2 medium sized Shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin

1 small carrot, cut into inch ‘sticks’

1 bunch of green onions

1/2 tsp of salt

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

2 whole cloves

1 heaping tablespoon of ground ginger

1 tsp of dried red pepper flakes

64 oz. (2 cartons) of good quality veggie broth

2 1/2 tsp of salt

2 tablespoons of lime juice

2 tablespoons of sriracha

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1/4 tsp of ground black pepper

3 tablespoons of fresh finely chopped cilantro

2-3 oz. of ‘rice sticks’ or very thin rice noodles (find in the Asian isle of most grocery stores)

3-4 leafs of bok choy, halfed

3-4 tablespoons of oil

1 block of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Sesame seeds for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Start by adding your onion, red bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms, carrot, ONLY the white part of your green onions (chopped), a tablespoon of oil, and the 1/2 tsp of salt in a large pot and set to a medium-high heat. Cook for 6-7 minutes until your veggies start to wilt and the excess water from the mushrooms is evaporated.
  2. Add cinnamon, star anise, cloves, ginger, and dried red pepper flakes. Stir for 30 seconds to release their flavor.
  3. Add veggie broth, 2 1/2 tsp of salt, lime juice, sriracha, soy sauce, and pepper. Stir and cook on medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
  4. In a separate medium skillet, heat up 3-4 tablespoons of oil. However much you need until the bottom of your skillet is completely covered in oil. Heat up the oil to medium heat and add tofu cubes. Fry until golden brown, flipping occasionally.
  5. While the soup is cooking, chop cilantro. Take only half of the ‘green side’ of your green onions and cut those into inch strips.
  6. After the soup has cooked for 20 minutes, add cilantro, green onions, and rice sticks. Stir, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Add bok choy leafs. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
  8. Make sure your pasta is cooked through. Add tofu and lime slice to a bowl, pour soup over tofu. Top with sesame seeds, serve warm and enjoy!
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