Pho with Vermicelli Noodles, Kale and Enoki Mushrooms


This noodles-in-a-fragrant-broth type Vietnamese soup is rapidly conquering my heart. I use Vermicelli noodles here, but try it with flat rice noodles and soba noodles as well. Two things will elevate this simple recipe to another level. The first is the complexity of the vegetable stock you will use for the broth, the second the vibrance of the kale when you serve it. Other than that you soak the noodles, chop some vegetables, make the broth, poach the mushrooms and put everything together in a bowl.


For the noodles:

  • Vermicelli Noodles, 2 bricks, soak in boiled water for 5 minutes, drain and keep in water until use.

For the vegetable stock, in a pot with cold water add all or as many of the following vegetables, herbs, and spices, as you have available, the mushrooms being an absolute must. Bring to the boil, turn heat down, simmer for 25 minutes then turn heat off and allow to cool before discarding the vegetables. You will need at least 1,5 lts of stock for the soup, so start with at least 3 lts of water, and pack that pot with whatever you are using:

  • Mushroom stalks and whole button mushrooms

  • Onion, skin on, cut in half

  • Celery leaves and stalks

  • Parsley, Coriander, Dill stalks

  • Bay leaves

  • Tomato

  • Lemongrass stalks

  • Star anise

  • Cinnamon stick

  • Cloves

  • Peppercorns, black, Szechuan

Store your stock in the fridge for a few days, or the freezer for months.

For the soup, in a pot with enough oil, more than for sweating, less than for frying (for a medium pot that would be 2 - 3 tbsp), over a medium heat shallow fry, 5 - 8 minutes, to get some colour:

  • Onion, 1 big pc, finely diced

  • Ginger, 5 cm pc, finely grated

  • Leek, 2 pcs, thinly sliced

  • Chillies, 2 pcs, thinly sliced

Add:

  • Spring Onions, thinly sliced, 4 pcs

  • Soy sauce, 2 tbsps

  • Stock, 1, 5 lts

and allow to boil for 10 minutes, to lose some of the water and concentrate the flavour more. Then turn heat down to maintain a weak simmer and add:

  • Enoki mushrooms (or another type of mushroom thinly sliced accordingly). Please note you can always sear your mushrooms first for extra flavour, although with my particular stock that is packed with mushroom flavour, and with the enoki's I use here which are so delicate the less done to them the better, I have purposefully omitted it .

and let them effectively poach in the simmering broth. After 5 minutes they should be cooked (Enoki's will be cooked in 5 minutes tops, other types will depend on the thickness, freshness, etc so check), turn heat off, and add:

  • Kale, roughly chopped, 2 cups

and allow it to just soften from the vapour. Check the seasoning and adjust (either with salt, or more soy) and acidity with lime juice.


In a bowl place the noodles, mushrooms and kale on top, and fill with the broth. Garnish with some more fresh:

  • Chilli, thinly sliced

  • Spring Onion tips, thinly sliced


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