I love when I make a new recipe. It inspires me and 95% of the time, it tastes great. One thing I really love is researching the recipe. Where is comes from, how it has changed over time, different ingredients based on geography. It is all interesting and allows helps me to think my recipes through better.
I have a great friend named Patricia. She lives in Oregon, and she tells me about this great restaurant that serves Vietnamese food. She told me about the super Pho' soup. From the first day I tried Pho' (pronounced fuh). This is the national dish of Vietnam. Reading the history and variations was interesting. One thing I learned is that it is offensive to call a vegan variation of this soup pho'. Many do, including those from Vietnam, but I saw many different examples of pissed of people when someone made this soup into a vegan treasure. The original, national dish of Vietnam is made from beef or ox bones and meat, boiled all day, 8+ hours, and absolutely not vegan. It is truly a labor intensive soup and the pride behind it is amazing.
So I may have come up with a soup base that is super tasty, and it has many of the same flavors associated with pho', but I will not call it pho'. Instead, I call it Pho' inspired noodle soup. I am not about to tread on a national dish that has so much pride associated with it.
If you have had pho' before, you will love the flavors in this soup. It has many hints and flavors of the original. It will fill the void we have not eating the original, beefy broth.
This recipe will focus mostly on the base broth. It is going to be the base for many delicious soups. You are free to add anything you want. Noodles, veggies, tofu, mushrooms.....the list goes on and on. So on to the base!
3 quarts (12 cups) good mushrooms stock, store bought or here is a recipe.
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, not peeled and cut in half
2 inch nob of fresh ginger, not peeled, cut in half length wise.
4 star anise
5 cloves (whole not powder)
1 cardamom pod (black or green)
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. good cinnamon
Very first step, you want to char your onion and ginger. After cutting in half, put on a small baking sheet and under your broiler. WATCH CAREFULLY! You want to char, not cremate them.
After the onion and ginger have a char on them, remove from oven, and turn the oven off. While it is cooling down enough to touch, lets make a spice pouch. (bouquet garni)
If you have cheese cloth, that will work, but I found a coffee filter works the best.
Take all the spices (star anise, clove, cardamom pod, coriander powder and cinnamon powder)
and bunch them up.
Tie off with some twine.
Now, make sure it is tied off well, otherwise you have this happen.
Your onion and ginger should be cool enough to handle. Rinse under running water, and take off any black char. Drop into your vessel of choice Add the garlic and stock. Then, last of all, add your spice pod. Stir just a bit and cook as follows:
IP- 45 minutes, pressure, natural release
Slow cooker- low for 10 hours, or high for 5
Stovetop- Low, covered for 5 hours, checking occasionally.
You will love the fragrance that comes from this stock as it cooks.
When the time is up, remove the garlic, onion, ginger and spice pod. (or if you are like me, strain well through a cheese cloth.
After the stock is all done, I put into quart jars and into the fridge for use. You could also freeze it in doubled freezer bags. Make sure the soup is cook before freezing.
As I said, you can use this soup base for anything you would like. If you want to make a pho' inspired noodle soup, add cooked brown rice noodles to a bowl, whatever veggies, tofu, lime wedge, bean sprouts, hot peppers and basil, cilantro, sriracha and hoisin sauce.
I like to dry pan fry my tofu, and my mushrooms. Boil the stock and add it to the veggies, garnish with basil, cilantro, sriracha and hoisin. Serve right away.
Get creative and have fun with it. It is a labor of love, delicious, drooling, wonderful love.