By Mary McDougall
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup specialty of rice noodles, tofu, fresh herbs and bean sprouts. The rice noodles are kept separate from the broth so they do not overcook and get mushy. This soup is made in several steps so it does take some time to prepare. The broth may be made a day or two ahead of time and reheated with the tofu, herbs and bean sprouts before ladling over the noodles. An interesting note about this soup: while the broth was simmering on the stove John made a comment about how whatever I was cooking didn't smell very good, so I worried all afternoon about dinner not being well-received that evening. Not to worry, he loved the finished product and even ate more the next day for lunch. So the smells may be unfamiliar to you or your family, but the taste is fantastic!
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 10 min
2 Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside. (Cover with plastic wrap to retain softness.)
3 Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat and add the tofu. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the bean sprouts, green onions, spinach and basil. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and add the cilantro.
4 Place a portion of the noodles into individual soup bowls and ladle the broth mixture over the noodles, including some of the tofu and vegetables in each bowl. Serve with lime wedges and either Hoisin sauce or hot chile sauce (such as Sriracha), if desired.
Hints: If you have leftover portions of this soup, store the noodles separately from the broth, so they don’t get mushy. Heat the broth on the stovetop or in the microwave. Submerge the noodles into hot water while the broth is heating, then drain and place into individual soup bowls and ladle the broth over the noodles.