Nothing says Christmas quite like a steaming hot bowl of Pho. Well perhaps not for most people, but in all seriousness, when parties start rockin' and colds come a knockin', I appreciate having a couple of nourishing immune boosting recipes in my back pocket.
This recipe has been in the works for a long time, 5 years in fact. When we first transitioned to a plant based diet, there were a few foods I simply couldn't give up - Pho being one of them. Obviously thinly sliced cuts of beef and bone broth are not exactly veg-friendly, which led me to mushrooms, as they contain a similar, hearty and satisfying umami taste. Medicinal mushrooms (including shiitakes) contain strong immune boosting properties, which you can read more about care of The World's Healthiest Foods and Dr Joseph Mercola. I have tested and tweaked this recipe many times, finally arriving on a final product that is both delicious and immune fortifying.
Oh and as a point of interest (and debate for my husband and I, on frequent occasions), Pho is technically pronounced "Fuh", and not "Faux" (as I previously thought). This video, care of Huffington Post and An Choi Vietnamese Eatery in NYC gives an entertaining overview of the exact pronunciation, so that you too can have an authentic experience, be it out and about or chez vous.
Supercharged Mushroom Pho
Pho Stock Ingredients
12 cups Nourishing Vegetable Broth (or vegetable stock of your choosing) prepared with the following:
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups mixed mushrooms (I used king oyster, oyster, fresh shiitakes & shimeji)
1 piece lemongrass, chopped
3 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp whole star anise
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp whole cloves
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp schezuan peppercorns
1 tsp chili flakes
1 large cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 package organic tofu (or protein of choice), thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup tamari
1 package rice noodles
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 lime, sliced in wedges
Thai chilies, thinly sliced
Combine stock ingredients and pressure cook for 20 minutes. You can also prepare the stock in a slow cooker for 2 hours (high) or 4 hours (low), or bring to a boil and then simmer on the stove top for a couple of hours.
Strain the stock, and return it to your pot. Add mushrooms and tofu, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the tamari and lemon juice. While the mushrooms and tofu are cooking, prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions.
Ladle the soup over rice noodles in large serving bowls, adding optional garnish ingredients as desired.