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No, this is not the traditional style of vietnamese pho, but it is pretty darn close and just as delicious. I chose to put my favorite soup veggie: mushrooms as the main ingredient. When dining on authentic pho, I find that the bowl can get too busy for my taste with all of the ingredients sometimes. For me, less is more so I can focus on the tasty flavors of the ingredients presented versus tastebud bombardment. You can substitute the mushrooms for any other veggies you prefer, but the shitake’s make this soup a more substantial meal. Plus, the kick from the jalapeños will alleviate any sinus issues you might be facing. This recipe makes about 10+ servings, so reduce the amounts if needed.

Ingredients:

  • 5 boxes vegetable broth
  • 4 packages KAME wide lo mein noodles
  • 6 containers shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 container bean or veggie sprouts (I used onion sprouts)
  • 1 head garlic, minced, divided into 1/3 portions and 2/3 portions
  • 3 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 8 green onions/ scallions, chopped
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ribboned basil leaves
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 limes, cut into wedges
  • 4 tbsp oil, divided: 2, 1, 1
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2-4 cups of water, optional to extend broth
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • large bowl of iced water

Pho directions:  In a large soup pot, heat 2 tbsp oil on high heat. Add 2/3 of the garlic and sauté until golden brown and aromatic. Add the sliced mushrooms and salt, and sauté until the stems are soft. Add the 5 containers of veggie stock, and bring to a boil. Boil on medium for at least 20 minutes. The longer the broth cooks, the tastier is it. You may have to add a few cups of water so the broth doesn’t cook off- depending on how long you allow this to simmer for. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil, add the other 1/3 garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add the water chestnuts and sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Cook the water chestnuts until they reach a nice crispy outside and golden color. Toss in a handful of the green onion/ scallion. Set aside.  In a separate, medium sized soup pot, fill with water and bring 1 tbsp of oil and salt to a boil. Add the lo mein noodles and allow to cook for 4 minutes. Remove the noodles from the boiling water with tongs and immediately transfer to the cold water bowl bath. This helps the noodles to not stick together, break apart or become soggy. Now, the serving process. With a larger soup bowl, first add your noodles, then half of your broth/mushrooms, now top this concoction with the freshly chopped cilantro, ribboned basil, sliced jalapeños, sprouts and scallion. Squeeze a wedge of lime juice over the toppings and add another ladle or two of the broth to saturate everything. Voila! You now have pho…. Do not eat the jalapeños unless you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’ with  your tastebuds.