Most of my food adventures end when the restaurant don’t serve vegetarian or vegan options. Recently we were dining at this particular Vietnamese restaurant, I found they had Vegan Pho. I was truly beaming when the dish arrived. Rich vegan broth made by slow simmering veggies, soft noodles and toppings made this dish look gorgeous. The flavors were deep and it made the Pho so so fragrant.
So have you had Pho? It’s amaa-azing! Seriously! I actually thought of holding off on posting this until we had some snowfall, because it would make the best ‘warm comfort’ food.
The traditional Vietnamese Pho is made with beef broth. The bones are simmered on low flame for several hours along with veggies to get that rich broth. This broth is flavored with whole spices to infuse the best flavors it can ever have.
For this particular ‘Vegan Pho’ recipe, we will be using just veggies or veggie broth to make the delicious Pho. Trust me, the flavors are umami although there is no meat in it.
To make Veggie Pho, you can either use ready-made veggie broth or make broth at home. I have used store bought for this recipe. I am using this veggie broth. Contrary to the popular belief, making veggie broth at home is easy.
Just add cut veggies of your choice along with whole spices and pressure cook with water for at-least 15-20 mins. Strain the veggie pieces and voila! you have rich and delicious broth ready at home.
I am using veggies like onions, celery stalk, carrots, broccoli and fresh cilantro (lots of it). You can also add mushrooms and tofu.
- Cut the veggies in a chunky fashion and set it aside.
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and let it heat.
- Then add 3tbsp oil. I prefer flavorless oil. I am using coconut oil for this recipe. You can either use vegetable oil/canola oil too.
- Once the oil heats, add 4 cloves of garlic and 1 inch ginger,
- Add whole spices like 1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 star anise, 4 cloves, 4-5 peppercorns, 1 tbsp coriander seeds to the Instant Pot. Let it sauté for a minute.
- Then add 1 large roughly chopped onion, 2 sliced celery sticks, 1 cup chopped broccoli florets to the Instant Pot.
- Add 3 cups of Vegetable broth to the Instant pot. Do not mix the ingredients.
- Add salt as per taste and then close the lid.
- Change the setting to Pressure cook – High pressure, close the lid, set to seal and cook for 15 mins.
- Let the pressure release naturally once done.
- Once pressure is released, remove the lid. Using a strainer, remove the whole spices from the Pho.
- Make sure you remove the whole spices because it bothers when eating.
- You can also remove cooked veggie pieces if you wish. But I would highly recommend keeping it.
Traditional Pho consists rice noodles. These noodles are easy to cook and 100% gluten free (you know I love gluten-free stuff!)
Where can I find Rice Noodles?
If you visit an Oriental or Asian store, walk to the Vietnamese section, you will see an entire aisle of rice noodles. There is a huge variety and you’d actually feel really overwhelmed by the different sizes and shapes of the noodles.
I am using flat rice noodles – Rice stick ‘Pho Tai Bo Vein’ for this recipe.
Just dip these noodles in hot water for 10 mins to cook. For the Pho recipe, I have added these noodles directly to the hot Pho in the Instant Pot. You will need almost the 200gms for 2 people.
Once the Pho broth is cooked, simply remove the lid and add the rice noodles and close the lid. The heat ensures the rice noodles are cooked evenly.
ADDING SEASONED TOFU..
The most important aspect of vegan Pho is TOFU!
You got to add the protein, isn’t it? And if you have ever noticed, tofu by itself is very flavorless. So in order to add some flavors, you can rub some pepper, salt and corn starch.
To make tofu for the Vegan Pho, you need to use Organic Tofu slab (85gm). I am using half of this half of the slab i.e 40gm.
- Drain the water from the tofu slab and place the tofu on a plate.
- On top of the tofu slab, place a tissue and then place something over it. This helps to drain remaining water from the tofu.
- Keep this arrangement for about 10 mins to help drain the water.
- Now transfer the tofu slab to the cutting board and cut it into cubes/rectangular shape.
- Transfer these cubes to a mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp pepper powder and 1 tsp salt. Also add 1tbsp olive oil. Place a lid over the bowl and gently shake to help coat all the tofu cubes.
- Now in a shallow pan, add 4-5 tbsp oil and let it heat on medium flame. Once the oil heats, add tofu cubes. Let the lower side of the cube turn golden brown and then flip to roast the other side until golden brown.
- Once done, transfer to a tissue lined plate and let it rest for a minute.
- Add these roasted tofu pieces to the Pho as toppings.
I am Jui. If you love tea, vegetarian food and lots of giggles, we probably work on the same wavelength. I mostly re-create long lost Maharashtrian traditional recipes and also develop recipes that are vegan and vegetarian.
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