Vegetarian Pho without Onions

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This is a variation of Vegetarian Pho that includes no onions. See the original recipe if onions are ok and you need a faster preparation.
Serves 4

  • 4 tbs whole coriander seeds
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 three-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 lg carrots
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 piece Kombu
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 8 branches fresh (or frozen) parsley
  • 6-inch chunk of ginger, peeling and sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and quartered
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 medium bok choy
  • 8 Seitan (double check seasonings to avoid onion)
  • Peanut oil for sauteing the Seitan (optional)
  • 6 oz rice noodles
  • cilantro (optional garnish)
  • thai basil (optional garnish)
  • mint (optional garnish)
  • limes, quartered (optional garnish)
  • bean sprouts (optional garnish)
  • Sriracha hot sauce (optional garnish)

Toast the coriander seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks until fragrant being careful not to burn. It's really important to use the whole spices and cinnamon stick. It doesn't taste right if you cheat and use ground spices. Once the spices are toasted, set aside.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Roughly chop carrots and garlic (no need to take the skins off the garlic, just make sure they are clean and cut the clove in half) and add them to water. Also add mushrooms, kombu, nutritional yeast, toasted spices, ginger, and jalapeño. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the bok choy stalk into 1/2" slices. Shred the bok choy leaves. Saute the seitan in peanut oil until slightly brown (this step can be skipped but I think it adds a better flavor to seitan. I don't bother when using the Morningstar Chik 'n Strips).

After the broth has simmered, strain the broth to get rid of the the vegetable pieces. Chop the onion and mince the ginger and then add them back to the broth pot. Add the seitan and soy sauce. 20 minutes before serving, add the bok choy stalks and cook for 5 minutes then add the bok choy leaves for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and then add the rice noodles and allow them to sit, fully covered by the broth, for about 10 minutes until they soften (double check package instructions). Rinse whatever combination of the garnishes you are serving (I recommend at least 2 herbs). There's no need to separate the herb leaves from the stem.

To serve: Place all the garnishes on a plate to be placed in the middle of the table. Ladle the Pho into bowls making sure an equitable amount of ingredients gets into each bowl (it's easy to accidentally get all the noodles in one bowl with none for the others). Once you get your bowl, grab some of the herbs, strip the leaves from their stems and place the leaves in your bowl. Add as many of the other optional garnishes and then finish your preparation with a squeeze of lime. Now you are ready to eat. Ted believes this should be eaten with chopsticks and a Chinese soup spoon. I just use a fork to grab the noodles and vegetables and a spoon to finish the broth (evil, I know).

Servings Per Recipe: 4