Asian Fusion fans have long been asking for more vegetarian recipes, even those who are not actual vegetarians. It’s heartening to see a slow but sure culinary culture change across America and much of the world when it comes to the fact that eating healthier does not equate to sacrificing taste and texture. In creating this recipe, I thought long and hard about the amazing bowls of pho I’ve had across Vietnam and how I never came across a vegetarian one while there. I tried to channel the food spirits of the grandmothers I learned from and hope that this is an easy, relatively quick and health conscious alternative to regular beef and seafood pho soups.
1 package (14-16 oz) rice noodles soaked in hot water for 1 hour
15 cups (100 oz) unsalted vegetable broth
7 star anise
5 whole cloves
2 teaspoons salt
7 oz enoki mushroom
7 oz shimeji mushroom
4 large stalks Chinese broccoli or other green vegetable, ends trimmed, roughly chopped & rinsed
2 scallions, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Fried garlic for garnish
Cilantro sprigs for garnish
Basil leaves for garnish
Fresh bean sprouts for garnish
In a large stock pot on high heat, bring the vegetable broth to a vigorous boil. Add the star anise, cloves and salt, stirring well. Lower to medium high heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the star anise and cloves.
Gently add the enoki and shimeji mushrooms and the Chinese broccoli into the simmering broth. Allow to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes before turning off the heat.
Drain the soaked noodles and arrange into 4 serving bowls. Carefully ladle the hot soup over the noodles. Garnish with an assortment of chopped scallions, thinly sliced onions, bean sprouts, sprigs of cilantro, basil and a sprinkling of fried garlic. Serve immediately. Typical condiments for pho include Hoisin sauce and Sriracha chili sauce.