How to: Recipe Makeover – Mushroom Pho


For years, I’ve had a major crush on Pho.

When I first moved to the big smoke, it was one of the first ‘international’ foods that I sampled (along with butter chicken and pad thai. Ya, I’m old).

Now it’s so familiar I regularly crave it as comfort food.


Making traditional Vietnamese pho is an art.  I’m not about to pretend this recipe is any where near traditional.  But what it most definitely is, is achievable at home.  On a weeknight.

So there.

PS. It’s also vegan if that’s your thing.


Using chinese five spice is a genius little quickie trick.  I won’t take credit for it. I found it on the interweb.

The secret is that three of the five spices (star anise, cinnamon and clove) are the predominant spice profile in traditional pho.

Totally fools me, and they’re all in one jar. Jackpot.


Try to use a variety of mushrooms if at all possible.  This will help to maximize flavour complexity in the broth.  Oh and don’t leave out the shitakes.  They are so worth it.

That goes for the various garnishes too.

Happy slurping!



Mushroom Pho


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (whites and green separated)
  • 2 teaspoons chinese five spice powder
  • 1.5lb mushrooms (a combination of cremini, shitake and white)
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 1 package rice noodles
  • 3 cups leafy green of choice (spinach, chinese greens)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • lime wedges
  • sriracha and hoisin sauce (to taste)


1. Clean and slice mushrooms. When using shitake, remove and discard the woody stem.
2. Heat canola oil over medium heat. Add white portion of green onions, ginger and five spice powder. Sauté for one minute. Add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften. Add stock and simmer, uncovered for at least 15 minutes until slightly reduced and really 'mushroomy' tasting.
3. Meanwhile, cook rice noodle as per package direction and set aside. Toss the noodles with a tsp of canola oil to keep them from sticking together.
4. Add spinach to soup and remove from heat, allowing the greens to wilt for a minute or two. Heartier chinese greens can be sautéed or steamed separately and added at the end.
5. To serve, place 1 cup of noodles in a bowl, top with soup. Add basil, remaining green onions and lime garnishes. Add sriracha chill sauce and hoisin sauce to taste.

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