Do you have certain food cravings that are stronger then others and just hit you out of nowhere? I have that for Asian food. Especially for Asian soups. It doesn’t hit often but when it does, I have to have it now!
It used to be that I reached for the phone and ordered from our favourite Chinese or Vietnamese take out restaurant but since we moved further out west, I can no longer reach out to these places for help to quench my cravings: they don’t deliver this far out and if we did venture out ourselves to pick it up, well, let’s just say that by the time we got back home and started eating, the craving would have certainly passed!
So I did what any other motivated foodie would do, I learned how to make some of my favourite Asian dishes and on top of that list was Pho (pronounced fa). Pho is a bowl of noodle soup, generally thin rice noodles, in a rich aromatic broth, topped with bean sprouts, lime, Thai basil, cilantro and your choice of vegetable mix, tofu or meat. You can add spicy chilli sauce, hoisin sauce or tamari sauce to finish off the dish… It’s simple yet absolutely delicious and soul satisfying!
The beauty of making such a simple dish is that it can be adapted to suit the cravings of that moment or, what’s in your fridge. Unless I set out to make a traditional dish for a specific reason, I never let the constraints of what my food should be like, define what it actually turns out to be. You get me? So I make my Pho to suit my craving for that day and add ingredients that you probably wouldn’t find in a traditional Pho, like the one I made for dinner the other night, with caramelized onions and mushrooms.
What I also love about this soup is how easily it can be put together. The broth is what requires the most time but since I didn’t have much time the other night, and like I said, I don’t let tradition dictate the outcome, I made a miso base broth and it was glorious. Miso is a paste that comes from fermented soybeans. It brings an amazing umami flavour to any dish and the health benefits are endless (it provides probiotics, helps improve digestion, levels out blood pressure, provides copper, vitamin K, manganese…)
When combining caramelized onions and mushrooms with rice noodles simmering in a miso broth and top it with fresh basil, bean sprouts and a squirt of lime, trust me you’re in for one deliciously filling meal! Even my toddler loved it. I put a little less broth in his bowl and cut up the noodles. Let’s just say he had a great time eating it and mommy had a not so great time cleaning everything up!
This soup is also a great meal for entertaining a group of friends. I make a large batch of the broth and let the noodles sit in it in the center of the table. I spread a few different toppings on the table: cubed tofu, edamames, mixed vegetables, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, basil, cilantro, lime wedges, bean sprouts, spicy chilli sauce, hoisin and tamari sauce. That way, everyone can create his or her own soup and since it’s all gluten free, it will suit everyone’s dietary restrictions.
On a side note, I mentioned to you guys the other day that I started reading the book “May cause Miracles” by the amazingly talented Gabrielle Bernstein. Well I just started reading chapter 3 and it’s all about body image. Up until now, I was very comfortable with the assigned exercises. I can even say that I did them wilfully and with ease. I can’t say the same now… This chapter is really hitting home for me and I’m struggling. I want to share this experience with you guys, as I believe it can be of help to others, but I understand some of you may only want my recipes (which is totally cool!) so I’ll be creating a separate page on my blog. My new page will be up tomorrow so you can start reading about my journey…
- 6 Cups of water
- 6 Tbs miso paste (I use red miso paste but white works well also)
- 1/2 package of vermicelli rice noodles (about 200 grams)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 Cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 lime
- Optional toppings: bean sprouts, basil, cilantro
- In a sauce pan, melt the coconut oil on medium high heat.
- Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.
- Set aside.
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
- Add the miso paste and whisk.
- Add the vermicelli rice noodles and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Juice the lime into the broth.
- Separate the broth and noodles between 4 bowls and top with onions and mushrooms.
- Top with your favourite toppings and enjoy.
P.S. As you guys may have noticed, some adds have been added to my blog and you will now find some affiliated links. I now participate in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Please rest assured that the products I link to, are all products I personally use and love.