Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own

Vietnamese Pho Chay – A Vegan Noodle Soup


Me a little obsessed with Asian food? nah… And yet another Asian dish…I’ve been wanting to cook Pho for a while and today was the day! It was my first time and surprisingly it doesn’t taste like any other Asian soup I’ve cooked before at its flavour it’s quite unique; the spices on the broth really make a difference.

The traditional Pho is made with beef stock and usually contains beef as well, but Chay is the veggie version of this soup, usually with tofu as the protein ingredient. The choice of vegetables was based on what I have at hand this time, but you could use broccoli and bok choy for instance. Would you like to try it? It’s a safe bet!

Servings: 4

Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes


  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 units star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 big leaves kale, cut into strips
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • a dash of olive oil
  • 250 g firm tofu, cubed
  • 4 servings rice noodles

For the Garnishes

  • Bean sprouts (I used potted, but fresh would be ideal)
  • Jalapeños, sliced (I used potted, but fresh would be ideal)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha sauce


Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a cooking pot, add the ginger and the dry spices and simmer for around 15 minutes. Strain it and return to the cooking pot, add the vegetables and the mushrooms and cook them a few minutes, they must remain crispy. Season with soy sauce and black pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the oil and brown the tofu cubes with a dash of light soy sauce. Set aside.

Prepare the rice noodles according to the package instructions, usually to soak them 3 minutes in boiling water is enough. Strain them and serve them in the soup bowls, add the tofu cubes on top and pour over the soup, add the garnishes and enjoy!


8 thoughts on “Vietnamese Pho Chay – A Vegan Noodle Soup

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  3. I love noodle soup! Very often I make the Japanese udon soup.


    • Thanks so much Francesca! I’d love the recipe! I’m a big fan of udon, my problem is that I can’t get white miso paste around here, how do you prepare the broth?


    • I don’t get any miso at all here in Sicily. I’ll ask my husband and then I’ll send you the recipe, he’s Japanese so he makes it better than I. I’ll write to you later.


    • That’d be lovely, thank you!


    • Per person: boil 1 cup of dashi (broth) and add 1 Tb. sake, 1/2 Tb sugar, 1/2 Tb mirin, 1TB soy sauce, a pinch of salt. Boil the udon separately, then add them to the soup along with 1 negi (green onion) chopped, and a piece of deep fried tofu (abura age) if you have it.


    • Great, you’ve made me so happy with this recipe, is one of those easy yet delicious formulas for any time, and besides is authentically Japanese, thanks a lot!


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