Serves 4 to 6
For the Broth
* 2 onions, un-peeled and quartered
* 8 garlic cloves, halved
* 1 inch piece of ginger, coarsely sliced
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 4 pods of star anise
* 4 cloves
* 2 tsp coriander seeds
* 2 tsp fennel seeds
* 2 tsp or 1 pod of cardamom
* 8 cups clear Asian vegetable stock ( recipe below )
* 3 Tb soy sauce
* salt to taste
For the Soup
* 1 pound rice noodles
* 1 ( 14 oz ) container of Firm Tofu, fried and sliced
* 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
* a good handful of basil, mint and cilantro, left whole
* 1 lime, cut into wedges
* hoisin sauce
* sriracha chili paste
To make the broth
1. Turn your broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each.
2. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.
3. Heat a small pot over medium/high heat. Add the spices ( cinnamon, star anise, cloves, coriander, fennel seeds and cardamom. )
4. In a large pot, add 1 tsp olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two, or until it just starts to brown and become fragrant.
5. Add the spices, the charred onion and ginger, the vegetable stock and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes.
6. Strain into a clean pot and discard the solids. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary. Keep warm over low heat.
7. While the broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover and soak for 15 minutes.
8. When you are ready to assemble the soup, add the seitan or tofu to the warm broth and allow to heat through.
9. Drain the soaked rice noodles and divide evenly among 4 to 6 large bowls. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the seitan or tofu out of the broth and distribute among the bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles. Serve the bowls of pho with the bean sprouts, herbs, lime wedges, hoisin sauce and chili sauce on a separate platter so that everyone can season their own soup as they wish.
Asian Vegetable Stock
Makes 8 cups
* 10 cups cold water
* 1 yellow onion, halved
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
* 2 celery stalks
* 1/4 pound button mushrooms, with or without stems
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 parsley sprigs
* 2 stalks lemongrass, crushed or coarsely chopped
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
* 1/2 cup shiitake mushroom stems
* 1 bunch cilantro stems
* 1 bunch basil stems
* 1 ( 1 inch ) piece kombu sea vegetable
* 4 peppercorns
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 hour. Strain.