Vietnamese tofu pho recipe

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A whole hour might seem like a long time to simmer the broth but it really does make all the difference to the flavour of the finished soup. And you don’t have to stand over it while it bubbles away – just prepare the vegetables and noodles and then chill and relax.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes


  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 white onion, top and bottom trimmed
  • 1.5 litres/2½ pints (6¼ cups)vegetable stock (broth)
  • 1 in (2.5 cm) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp vegan fish sauce or soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 10 oz (300 g) rice noodles
  • 2 tsp groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 7 oz (200 g) firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into cubes
  • 1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), sliced diagonally
  • 2 pak choi (bok choy), sliced
  • 1 lime juice
  • A handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • A handful of mint, chopped
  • Soy sauce or hot chilli sauce, to serve
How to Make It
  1. Place a non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium to high heat and when it’s hot add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and coriander and fennel seeds. Dry-roast the spices for 1–2 minutes, shaking the pan gently once or twice, until they release their aroma. Remove from the pan before they burn.
  2. Put the whole onion on a very hot griddle pan over a high heat and cook each end until charred.
  3. Pour the vegetable stock into a large saucepan and add the dry-roasted spices, charred onion, ginger, chilli, vegan fish sauce or soy sauce and sugar. Cover with a lid and simmer gently over a low heat for 1 hour.
  4. Cook the rice noodles following the pack instructions and drain well.
  5. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat and fry the tofu for 4–5 minutes until crisp and golden brown all over. Remove and drain on kitchen paper (paper towels).
  6. With a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves from the hot broth. Add the spring onions, pak choi, lime juice and herbs. Cook for 1–2 minutes until the pak choi wilts.
  7. Divide the noodles between 4 bowls and ladle the hot broth over the top. Add the fried tofu and serve with soy sauce or hot chilli sauce.

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