Pho Sho: Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup

8 Jan

When I was in law school in Seattle, I was always excited for finals week to come around.  Call me crazy, but listen first:  There was this small family-owned restaurant right across the law school called “Ginger Lime.”  When finals week came around, I’d spent countless hours in my library nook and only leave for one thing.  And no, it wasn’t a book.  It was my bowl of veggie pho.  I’d put on my snow boots, snuggle up in my winter jacket, wrap a scarf around my neck and walk down to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.  There, I’d enjoy great service and an extra large bowl of veggie pho.

After three years of going no where else but Ginger Lime for pho, I moved to San Francisco.  In San Francisco, I didn’t have the same luck.  It was near impossible to find a restaurant that offered 100% veggie pho – no chicken broth and no beef stock.  But . . . there was certainly no shortage of Asian grocery stores.  So, I learned to make my own.  

Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup is absolutely delicious and has a unique flavor compared to the standard Chinese hot & sour soup, which is what most people resort to when it comes to homemade Asian soup. Try out this recipe and I promise you won’t be let down.  It takes less than 30 minutes and I guarantee you, after you have it once, you’ll definitely make it a weekly favorite.

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Top 5 Pho restaurant names:
  • 9021Pho
  • Absolutely Pho-bulous
  • Pho Real
  • Pho Shizzle
  • What the Pho!

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Ingredients: Serves pho (4).  Most of the ingredients can be purchased at Ranch 99; see the price tickets in green.
  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1 piece fresh ginger root, cut into medium sized squares
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ diced red onion
  • 1 7 oz. package firm tofu, diced into cubes
  • 5 broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 stems green onion, chopped
  • 1 lime (cut as pictured below for first-class beauty and taste)
  • Bánh Phở Tươi Fresh Rice Stick Noodle (any rice stick noodles will work)
  • to taste, Sriracha hot sauce
  • 4 tsp. Kikoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce $2.49
  • 1 ½ tsp. Kikoman Plum Sauce (It took me FOREVER to find just the right tasting plum & hoisin sauces.  Kikoman was the perfect brand.  The plum & hoisin sauce are 90% of what make this recipe taste good so take the time and find the sauces in this brand.)  $2.99
  • 3 ½ tsp. Kikoman Hoisin Sauce  $2.99
  • ½ tsp. House of Tsang Szechuan Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce  (This sauce is the perfect combination of authentic Chinese flavor and spice.  I use it for my stir-fry dishes as well.  You can buy it at most grocery stores and some Targets carry it too.)
  • 5 fresh basil stems
  • a few pinches of ground black pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  1. Put the vegetable broth in a large pot and add the ginger, garlic, red onions, plum sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, stir-fry sauce, black pepper and the cinnamon stick.  Let the broth soak in the flavors for about 8 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add the tofu and broccoli florets.  Let the veggies soak in the broth for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Cut the block of noodles in half using a knife.
  4. In a second pot, boil some water.  Drop the noodles in for 15 seconds, take them out and strain them.  *DO NOT add them to the soup yet.*
  5. For each serving, get a large bowl.  In the bowl, first put the amount of noodles desired.  Then add the soup.
Serving suggestions:  Although the main soup and noodles are made on the stove, a big reason people love Pho is that when it’s served to you at your table, you can customize your own bowl and make it as flavorful and spicy as you like.  Here’s how:
  • Put the lime wedges, green onions, basil leaves and bean sprouts on a small plate.
  • Put the hot sauce and soy sauce in individual small bowls (or leave them in their bottles).
  • Add above to pho as desired.
  • Garnish each bowl with the green onions and basil leaves.  They add a bright color and taste delicious.
  • Invest in some Asian bowls and soup ware.  Ranch 99 sells them for reasonable prices.  This will truly make you feel like you are in Vietnam.

If you have left overs, store the noodles and soup separately so the noodles don’t get soggy.  This way, every time you eat it, it tastes like it’s fresh from the stove.

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ăn ngon miệng nhé

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the veggies finely chopped


chef Pri hard at work

step 3


step 2

taste testing

I have to wear heels when I cook because my boyfriend’s kitchen counters are too tall (or as he would say, I’m just really short . . .)

serving suggestions

decorating the bowls with Sri Racha


10 Responses to “Pho Sho: Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup”

  1. Jennifer Carter January 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Priya, is there nothing you can’t do?? There used to be a pho place by my house called UnPHOgettable. Loved the name!

    • aggarwap January 9, 2012 at 9:58 am #

      That’s an awesome name!!! PHO is like PRI – fun to play on words. 🙂 Thanks for the sweet words, Jenn! Try the recipe and let me know what you think 🙂

  2. Suneeta Aggarwal January 9, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Hey, how come there’s no joke for this recipe? I love the jokes 🙂

    • aggarwap January 9, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      Top 5 Pho restaurant names is the “joke”!

  3. Shivani Khangura January 9, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    priya! you are fabulous! i have been searching for a good pho recipe (veggie) for a LONG time! let’s just hope i can find an asian market in modesto… Thank you! 🙂

    • aggarwap January 10, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      How’d it turn out Shivvie?

  4. kat January 10, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    yum!! that looks amazing!!

  5. Kriti Rajput February 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I just made this recipe for my family. I’m a super novice cook, but this recipe was pretty easy! It came out great and I added some baby corn because my brother loves that. Thanks Priya, I can’t wait to test out more of your recipris!! 😊

  6. Shivani Khangura February 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Priya, this recipe was simply delicious. Even my husband tried some–and he NEVER eats Pho! He said it was the best he’s tried. Being the protein-packed eater I now am, I decided to substitute the vegetable broth for low sodium chicken broth and tofu for chicken. Marvelous. This is a must try recipri! Thank you!

  7. Priyam Shah June 6, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    This blog is amazing Priya! Everything sounds and looks delicious. And since I cook “the indian way” (sans any real measurements), it’s awesome to find structure to some of my favorite recipes. Thank you! 🙂

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