Vietnamese Pho is a fragrant noodle broth originating in the villages of Vân Cù and Dao Cù near Vietnam's convex southern coast. Pho is typically a very healthy dish consisting of noodles, a simple aromatic broth, fresh herbs and thin cuts of lean meat. This version of Vietnamese Pho with shirataki noodles nests has only 140 calories per serving but is still packed with flavour.
Shirataki konnyaku noodles are famed for having near-zero calories, no sugar, fat or protein. They are made from the roots of the ‘konjac’ plant of the taro family – which are peeled, cooked, pounded, and then pressed into shape. The shirataki konnyaku noodle nests used in this recipe are very similar to glass noodles, but tied with a simple knot into small bunches, making them easier to pick up with chopsticks – almost like dumplings.
The pleasantly chewy texture of shirataki noodles compliments the simple authentic flavours of this Pho. And as the shirataki noodles have little or no flavour themselves, they are able to soak up the aromas of the cassia bark, star anise, cloves, coriander seeds and ginger used to flavour the broth.
We have included fish sauce in the recipe, however if you prefer to make vegetarian Vietnamese pho it can be omitted.
Ingredients Serves: 2
- 3 pieces of cassia bark (each approx. 2 inches long)
- 1 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 inches fresh root ginger, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp concentrated vegetable stock
- 750ml hot water
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce (optional, leave out to make the dish vegetarian)
- 40g beansprouts
- 228g shirataki konnyaku noodle nests (1 packet) drained and rinsed
- 1 bulb bok choi, or 100g spinach
- 1/2 red chilli, thinly sliced
- 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh coriander, leaves roughly chopped
- 50g tofu, cut into 1cm cubes
- Heat a wok on a medium heat and lightly toast the cassia bark, star anise, cloves and coriander seeds for 2 minutes to release their aromas.
- Add the sunflower oil to the pan and fry the onion and ginger until the onion is soft but not brown.
- Stir the vegetable stock powder into 750ml hot water. Add to the wok along with the soy sauce, fish sauce, beansprouts and shirataki noodles. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the bok choi (or spinach) and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Lift out the spices using a spoon if you left them loose.
- Divide into bowls and serve alongside the sliced red chilli, lime wedges, mint, coriander and cubes of tofu to garnish.
Explore Vietnamese cooking further - why not prepare some authentic summer rolls from scratch with rice paper for a light pre-pho snack?