Vietnamese Tofu Pho


Traditionally Pho is made with either beef or chicken, however I kept this vegetarian by using fresh tofu. The Asian supermarket stocks locally made tofu, which has a great texture and soaks up flavours much better than the vac-packed stuff you can get from health food shops.

The way a Pho is served, everything else alongside the broth is considered to be a garnish. A traditional Pho, being made from meat stock and fish sauce, is cooked for 6 hours or more. This is to get all of the flavour from the bones. To recreate this flavour in a vegetarian broth you char the spices. The broth is actually quite easy, you just need to have the patience to let it intensify over time.


Vietnamese Tofu Pho Stock

Serves 2-3 – 1 hour prep and cooking time

  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 Teaspoon of Coriander Seeds
  • 3 or 4 cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon of 5 Spice
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground White Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Whole Black Pepper Corns
  • 1 Stick Fresh Lemongrass
  • 1 Stick of Cinammon
  • 2 Litres of good quality stock
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 3cm Fresh Ginger
  • 5 Dried Shitake Mushrooms
  • All of the Off-cuts from the Vegetables used for Garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
  1. Place all of the dry spices in a pan, dry fry them over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the aroma of toasting spices fills the kitchen stirring occasionally so the spices don’t stick and burn.
  2. With a pair of tongs, blacken the garlic, the galangal, the turmeric root and the ginger root over a naked flame using your gas hob or a cooks flambé torch. If you do not have access to a flame, omit this stage.
  3. Roughly chop the garlic and roots, bash the lemongrass and add them to the spice mix.
  4. Add the stock, the  mushrooms, the soy sauce and all of the vegetable off cuts to the spice mix.
  5. Place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for about an hour.
  6. Using a masher, mash the roots, spices mushrooms and vegetables to squeeze out all of the flavours. The broth should turn a deeper colour.
  7. Pour the broth into another pan through a sieve to remove the spices etc.
  8. You should be left with a clear broth deep in colour and flavour. Set aside.

The Tofu


  • 250g Fresh Firm Tofu
  • 1tbsp Organic Virgin Coconut oil
  1. Chop the tofu into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a non-stock frying pan over a medium heat and add the tofu.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tofu should be golden on the outside and soft in the middle.

The Garnishes


You can use whatever you have to hand here. I used the following.

  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • Large handful Choy Sum/Pak Choi
  • Handful Fresh Coriander
  • Handful Fresh Sweet Thai Basil (can substitute basil)
  • 4-5 Chives
  • 1 Birds Eye Chilli
  • Chive and Basil flowers for garnish


  • Broth
  • Tofu
  • Garnishes
  • Noodles (I used wholewheat rice vermicelli noodles)
  • 1 Lime
  1. Cook your noodles to the cooking guidelines
  2. Arrange the noodles, tofu, herbs and vegetables in 2 serving bowls
  3. Ladle the hot broth over the garnishes. The broth will gently heat and cook the vegetables, creating a very fresh tasting very aromatic soup.
  4. Cut the lime into wedges and squeeze over.



  1. This is magnificent. Simply magnificent and I can almost inhale that gorgeous aroma… gotta make this ASAP! Cheers for the most excellent share 🙂

    • Thanks narf77, it was a very special dish I highly recommend taking the time to make it 🙂

      • WELL worth taking the time to create something this gorgeous. Slow food supreme 🙂 Cheers for following our mad ramblings around Serendipity Farm. Send us a bit of your cold weather and I will swap it for a bit of our heat OK? 😉



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