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Slow Pho

Updated February 23, 2016
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Slow-cooking is a great way to develop the deep, rich flavor of pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup. Traditionally made with beef, this version is made with seitan or “wheat-meat.” Rice sticks, miso paste, seitan, and hoisin sauce are all available in well-stocked supermarkets, natural food stores, and Asian markets. Look for star anise in supermarkets and Asian markets. If unavailable, you can leave it out without seriously altering the flavor of the soup.

When a recipe calls for vegetable stock, you have several options. First, you can use homemade stock. Alternatively, there are several brands of commercial vegetable broth available that can be used instead. A third option is to use water boosted with a proportionate amount of powdered vegetable base. Because these choices will vary in degree of saltiness, you will find that most recipes using vegetable stock will also call for salt “to taste” so that you can make adjustments accordingly.

Serves4

Cooking Time6 min

Cooking Time - Text360

Cooking Methodpan-frying, slow cooking

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timehalf-day

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationmain course

Equipmentcrock pot

Mealdinner

Taste and Textureherby, meaty, rich, salty, savory, spiced, umami

Type of Dishhot soup, soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small green chile, seeded and chopped
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 4 ounces seitan, cut into strips
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons barley miso paste dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 6 ounces dried rice sticks, soaked 15 minutes in cold water to soften, then drained
  • ½ cup fresh bean sprouts for garnish
  • 4 scallions, chopped, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Instructions

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, chile, ginger, anise, cinnamon stick, tamari, and stock; cover, and cook on Low for 6 hours.

Meanwhile or beforehand, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the seitan strips, and brown on all sides. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Strain the stock and return the broth to the cooker.

In a small bowl, combine the hoisin, lime juice, and miso paste mixture, then add to the broth. Stir in the drained rice sticks and seitan and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the rice sticks are soft.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the bean sprouts, scallions, and cilantro.

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