Greg found this vegetarian version of pho by Anna Jones via The Guardian when trying to recreate the pho he enjoys when visiting Blue Cliff Monastery.
For the stock
garlic 1 bulb
ginger a small hand
cinnamon a 5cm stick
star anise 4
coriander seeds 1 tbsp
vegetable stock powder 1 tsp, or stock cube ½
dried mushrooms (Asian if you can find them) a large handful
soy sauce or tamari 1 tbsp
For the rest
dried flat rice noodles or pho noodles 200g
Basil or fresh Thai or Vietnamese basil and mint or shiso/parilla (if you can find them) a small bunch
fresh coriander a small bunch
pak choi or spinach 300g
sugar snap peas 200g
good chilli oil
pan-fried tofu, tossed in maple and soy at the end of cooking
Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients together. Heat a large saucepan over a high heat.
Peel and quarter the onions and halve the bulb of garlic, bash the ginger until it almost starts to break up. Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the dry pan and toast until blackened and charred all over. This will take 4-5 minutes. *Warning! likely to trigger smoke alarm*
Next, add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and coriander seeds and toast for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Now add 2 litres of hot water from the kettle, the stock powder or cube, the mushrooms and the soy or tamari and bring to a simmer. Chop the carrots into 2cm chunks and add these too. Cook for 25 minutes, until all the flavours have infused.
While the stock is simmering, put the noodles into a bowl, cover with boiling water from the kettle and put to one side. Drain after 8 minutes or following the packet instructions.
Pick the leaves from the stalks of all your herbs, quarter your pak choi and halve your sugar snap peas, lengthways.
Once the stock has had its time, sieve it into a large bowl and pour it back into the pan. Add the juice of 3-4 limes, depending on how juicy they are. Taste and adjust, make sure the lime, soy and spices come through, then add the sugar snaps and pak choi or greens and simmer for a couple of minutes, until the leaves have wilted a little.
Divide the drained noodles between four bowls and ladle over the stock and vegetables. Serve with beansprouts, herbs and the remaining lime cut into wedges, with some chilli oil for everyone to add as they choose.