Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 7, 2010: Slow faux pho

Well, I didn't go through all that seitan kneading with no idea of what I'd make with it! I had my eye on the slow pho, another recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. It has its own stock that takes a solid 6 hours to infuse - star anise and cinnamon ensure it's an aromatic brew, but I couldn't actually detect any heat from the chilli or ginger. It soaked into the seitan strips just as I'd anticipated but all up it wasn't quite as vibrant as I'd hoped.

Even so, this bowl o' broth had something to teach me - the comfort of noodle soups. Any number of food bloggers have described their nourishing, consoling and healing properties but I've always preferred the heavier European potatoes and pastry for this role. Now I think I get it. I'm not sure whether I'll come back to this recipe again, but my one experience with it has me keen to explore this corner of cuisine further.

Slow faux pho
(based on Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson)

1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large red chilli, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon mince ginger
2 whole anise stars
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons soy sauce
5 cups vegetable stock
200g rice vermicelli
1 tablespoon peanut oil
125g seitan, sliced into strips
2 tablespoons miso paste
3 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
juice of 1 lime
To garnish: bean sprouts, coriander leaves, basil leaves, more chilli, ...

Place the onion, chilli, ginger, anise, cinnamon, soy sauce and stock in a slow cooker; cook them on Low for 6 hours.

Place the rice vermicelli in a bowl and cover them with water, allowing them to soak for 15 minutes to soften. Fry the seitan strips in the peanut oil until they're lightly browned on both sides. In a small bowl, dissolve the miso paste in a small amount of boiling water. Whisk in the oyster sauce and lime juice.

When the slow cooked stock is ready, strain the liquid and return it to the slow cooker. Strain the vermicelli and stir them into the stock. Mix in the seitan and the miso mixture. Cook the pho for a further 10 minutes, before ladling it into bowls and topping with your chosen garnish.


  1. Oh, I love pho! Especially love getting it out at restaurants where it omes with a myriad tiny bowls of herbs/sauces/lemon/chilli... still, at least by making it at home, you can know for sure that it's vegetarian!

  2. Noodle soups are my favourite. Faaavourite.

  3. Yum! Now I think I'm going to have noodle soup for dinner! I usually cook the noodles in the stock so it's not as watery and the flavour is stronger. Mmm.

  4. love pho - and keep meaning to try it but not in the slow cooker (as I don't have one) and not with seitan but I do love the addition of star anise and your garnish

  5. It looks wonderful! Try charring one onion and a knob of ginger, peel off the skin and add to the stock, you'll be able to get a more rounded flavour stock. :)

  6. Hooray, more pho lovers!

    Thanks for the tip, 3 hungry tummies - I'll try that next time.

  7. can you guys adopt me please? I'm a good kid, I brush my teeth and take the trash out.

  8. Heh, I'd love someone to take the trash out. :-)