This was inspired by a recipe from Blueberry Vegan. This is not technically a pho Vietnamese soup, as that involves cinnamon sticks, star anise, and more. But it ends up ticking most of the pho boxes and is pretty awesome. The cool thing is how easy it is to customize and it will be awesome no matter what. You can forget about noodles, use some other pasta, use tofu or not, etc. You can add in other traditional pho ingredients like bok choy, cabbage, bean sprouts, etc. This is for two good sized servings. Double the recipe for 4 people.
First choice to make is if you want tofu, and if you do, do you want it spicy and crispy, or just cubed and softer? If you want simple and easy, just cube the tofu and add it to the soup. The recipe that follows is for spicy fried tofu (can also be made in an air fryer for a healthier option).
Ingredients for Spicy Tofu:
- 1 package of firm or extra firm tofu
- 2 tsp Coconut milk (from a full can, you will use the rest in the broth)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Red Curry Paste
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 Tbl water
Remove liquid from tofu. I recommend using a tofu press to remove excess liquid. Blot dry. Then cube. A quick method is also to drain the package, cube the tofu, wrap the cubes in a paper towel and then squeeze over the sink to remove liquid.
Mix all other ingredients in a small cup or bowl.
Air Fryer Method:
Place marinade in a ziploc bag and add cubes to the bag. Evenly coat all the cubes. Allow to sit a few minutes to absorb.
Place cubes in the air fryer and follow the air fryer directions.
Pan Fried Method:
Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add in tofu cubes and brown on all sides.
Add in tofu sauce and continue to cook while using a spatula to evenly coat the cubes. Cook until all liquid is gone from the sauce.
Set aside tofu.
- Small splash of oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced fine.
- Ginger, about a thumb sized. Minced or grated.
- 3 tsp red curry paste
- Handful of Shitake mushrooms, sliced
- Handful of baby Portabella mushrooms, quartered
- 3-4 green onions, sliced thin
- 2 and 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
- Can of coconut milk
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Bunch of dried rice noodles (3-4 oz) (can also use spaghetti)
- Bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped into 1-2″ lengths (save some for garnish)
- Small or partial fresh Jalapeno Pepper, deseeded and sliced thin (optional) (can also used slices from a jar if adding to the soup during cooking)
- Lime (optional)
In a large pot, heat up oil and add sliced onions. Onions should be sliced so that “rings” are cut in half. Saute until starting to get soft.
Add garlic and ginger to the pot. Add in red curry paste. Stir to coat and continue to cook for 1 minute.
Add in mushrooms and green onions. Stir and continue to cook for 2 minutes under medium heat.
If everyone likes their soup spicy add in the jalapeno rings. The longer the peppers are in the soup the spicier the soup will become.
Pour in broth and stir. Add in coconut milk, lemon juice, soy sauce. Stir.
Add in rice noodles and roughly chopped cilantro.
Cook over medium heat until rice noodles are done (soft but not too soft.. should be about 5-6 minutes)
Serve in bowls garnished with fresh cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and sliced jalapeno peppers and sriracha sauce.