Warming Vietnamese Pho with Mushrooms

veggie pho.JPG

This is traditionally made with chicken or beef and ‘Pho’ means a type of soup or broth.  I actually was looking to make it with chicken thighs but I wasn’t near a reliable butcher so this is veggie.  If you wanted to add chicken thighs (use boneless, skinless and slice them up) and I would fry them in oil in the same mushroom pan until cooked, adding to the finished broth at the end with a tablespoon of fish sauce.  There is so much flavour going on in this being veggie though and it can be ready in less than about 30 minutes.  I like to fry the mushrooms to get a lovely golden colour but if you wanted you could roast them in the oven (preheated at 190 degrees) spaced out on baking trays with some sunflower oil, salt and pepper until soft.  For me, these kind of recipes become light and fresh when you add in all the herbs, chilli, sprouts and lime zest right at the end.  I loved adding in thinly sliced fresh jalapeño on top but diagonally sliced spring onions or dried chilli flakes would be good too.  I have mentioned Thai basil which is reasonably easy to get hold of or you could just use coriander leaves.


Serves 2


120g rice noodles, (I used the thinker type, not the vermicelli variety) 

350g mushrooms, sliced (I used a mix of button and chestnut mushrooms)

Zest and juive of 2 limes

small bunch of Thai basil

small bunch coriander leaves

2 handfuls bean sprouts

5 tbsp sunflower oil (for frying the mushrooms)

1 jalapeño, thinly sliced

Sea salt and black pepper


For the broth

2 star anise

2 cloves

2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 sticks of cinnamon, broken

3 garlic cloves, smashed with skins left on

1 large red onion, roughly chopped into chunks

1 large thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

800ml hot vegetable stock

2 tbsp soya sauce

Put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and add the 4 spices to make the broth.  Let the flavours combine together for a couple of minutes before adding in the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and mix together for 1 minute.  Next carefully pour in the hot stock and soya sauce bringing to the boil and then down to a simmer for 25 minutes.  

While the broth cooks you can put another saucepan on the heat to boil some water for the rice noodles.   Then add a frying pan on for the mushrooms and pour in a little sunflower oil to coat the pan.  When the pan is hot lay the mushroom slices inside the pan and fry without touching them for about 2 minutes before turning them over using tongs.  Continue frying them in batches until all of the mushrooms are cooked.  It might take about 3-4 batches and keep them all on one plate.  About 10 minutes before the broth is ready add the rice noodles into the pan of boiling water and follow the packet instructions.  Carefully pass the broth through a sieve and back into the saucepan.  Drain the noodles and pour straight into the broth followed by the fried mushrooms.  Plate up soup into bowls and top with bean sprouts, chopped jalapeño, coriander, Thai basil, some lime zest and juice, salt and pepper.   Done!

Nina ParkerComment