Daily Archives: March 10, 2015

Pho Real

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Thanks to some real inspiration, this is what I’m making for John’s dinner tomorrow night.  Thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

Serves 6

Broth
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
  • ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 12 ¼-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 5–6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
  • 5–6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup

Pho

  • 1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups soybean sprouts
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 4 green onions, sliced (½ cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

1. To make Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.

2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.

OK….yum.

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Like Thai or Indonesian-style satays?  Here is a super easy vegetarian and vegan version of low-fat tofu baked in a yummy Thai-inspired peanut sauce. You’ll love this one.  Give it a try!  You can serve it with extra peanut sauce on the side for dipping, if you like.

Quick cooking tips: Never be tempted to skimp on the sweet ingredients – the maple syrup is needed in order to caramelize and get the tofu nice and crispy. It is quite delicious, so make a double batch!

Here are your Ingredients
  • 1 12-14 ounce block extra firm tofu  (I like Nori or Silken brands)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (natural creamy style  is best)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger powder or fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (You can substitute OJ if you prefer….but I think lime is better.)
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian or vegan soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup.  (You can substitute either honey or agave, if you prefer.)
  • 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce ….and some cayenne pepper if you want to add some heat.

First, press the tofu.  Once it is well-pressed, cut it into bite-sized cubes.

NExt, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. I recommend lining a sheet pan with aluminum foil  since baked tofu can get a bit sticky.  The foil makes cleanup a lot easier.

Next, for the sauce, whisk together the peanut butter with the ginger, lime juice or orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup and sweet chili sauce.   You can soften the peanut butter for a few seconds in the microwave to make this process easier.   Give the sauce a quick taste. It should be delicious!  Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Coat the tofu with the peanut sauce on all sides. You can transfer the sauce to a wide shallow bowl or dish and dip it in, or use a pastry brush to coat each piece by hand if you’re working with larger pieces of tofu. I like to dip it, then brush on extra sauce

Bake the tofu in the oven for around 15 – 17 minutes, keeping an eye on it so the pieces  don’t burn. Turn pieces over, and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Add even more sauce after the tofu pieces come out of the oven, because that’s the best part!

Eat and enjoy!