Pronounced fô, (think fox without the x) this is a Vietnamese street food usually consisting of broth, meat and rice noodles, garnished with lots of herbs and veggies and sauces served on the side. Our plant strong version will be made with Roasted Vegetable Stock and Japanese Buckwheat noodles.
This turned out to be delicious, however, I would definitely get some deep dish bowls to serve it in. I made this for 8 people and the bowls were definitely not deep enough, but we made it work.
5 quarts my roasted vegetable stock
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
5 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
Ginger, about 2 inches, peeled and chopped
1 onion roughly chopped
6 cloves fresh garlic peeled
1 large shallot roughly chopped
5 pods of green cardamom (to be used separately from the other spices)
4 carrots peeled and sliced into rings
For the bowl:
Baby Bok Choi
Firm Tofu slices (fresh if you can find it....so much better)
Carrots (cooked in the stock about 15 minutes before serving)
buckwheat noodles (prepare according to the package)
Fresh brown mushrooms such as baby Portobello or shiitake
1 bunch Thai basil (I used purple as that's all they had)
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch Cilantro
sliced Serrano chilies
red chili paste
light soy sauce
Place all of the dry spices in a heated stock pot and keep them moving around until they are toasted. Remove from the pan (put them on a plate or something that can withstand the heat)
You'll know they are done as soon as you can smell them. In the same hot stock pot, dry saute the garlic, onion, ginger and shallot. What you're doing caramelizing the vegetables. When the veggies are done, add in the roasted vegetable stock.
I went a little crazy at the Japanese market and I purchased one small metal mesh tea ball and one large one for the purpose of putting spices in something that I will be removing later. At this point you are going to crack the pods of cardamom and put them in the stock for about an hour. While you are doing this put half of the remaining herbs in a spice grinder. What I did was put all of the spices, whole and ground, into my large tea ball.
Simmer the stock for a couple of hours. When it's done strain it using a cheese cloth lined colander. You should be left with a rich, dark stock. Add about 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce to begin with. Remember, you want to keep the sodium count low. There are a lot more flavors coming with the garnishes and you can put some soy sauce on the table.
About 15 minutes before serving, put the carrots in the stock to get them to the al dente state. You can also add your bok choy directly to the stock, which I should have done since my bowls weren't that deep. When preparing the bowl, put the noodles on the bottom and then add the tofu, mushrooms and bok choy in any order. Cover these with the hot stock and add your garnishes.