80 gmdried shiitake mushrooms (see note)50 gmdried wood ear mushrooms (see note)50 gmdried lily buds (see note)130 mlsoy sauce, plus extra for seasoning 30 gmrock sugar, crushed, plus extra for seasoning (see note)1unpeeled onion, halved100 gmginger, thickly sliced400 gmbanh pho noodles (see note)50 gmenoki mushrooms350 gmsilken tofu, sliced, to serve250 gmbean sprouts, to serve½white onion, thinly sliced, to serveTo serve:coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, lemon wedges and small red chillies
Soak dried mushrooms in a large bowl of warm water until rehydrated, topping up with extra water if necessary so mushrooms remain completely covered (2 hours).
Meanwhile, soak dried lily buds in a bowl of warm water until rehydrated (1 hour), drain and cut into 5cm lengths.
Strain mushroom liquid (reserve mushrooms) into a saucepan (you need 2 litres; top up with water if necessary), add soy sauce and rock sugar and set aside.
Heat a char-grill pan over high heat, add onion, cut-side down, and ginger and char-grill, turning occasionally, until charred (10-15 minutes). Add onion and ginger to mushroom liquid, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced to 1.2 litres (1-1½ hours). Strain into a clean saucepan (discard onion and ginger), season with extra soy and rock sugar to taste and keep hot.
Meanwhile, trim stalks from shiitake mushrooms (discard stalks), then thinly slice and set aside. Coarsely chop wood ear mushrooms and set aside.
Cook noodles in a saucepan of boiling water over high heat until tender (30 seconds-1 minute), then add shiitake, wood ear and enoki mushrooms and heat through (1-2 minutes). Strain, divide noodles and mushrooms among serving bowls, top with tofu and half the bean sprouts, then pour hot mushroom stock over and scatter with white onion and lily bud. Serve hot with coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, lemon wedges, red chillies and remaining bean sprouts to the side.
Note Dried shiitake mushrooms, dried wood ear mushrooms, dried lily buds (lily buds, also called golden needles, the dried, unopened flowers of yellow and orange day lilies), rock sugar and banh pho noodles are available from Asian grocers.
This recipe is from the September 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
“Pho (pronounced ‘fir’) is the quintessential Vietnamese dish, and there are as many variations as there are chefs who prepare it,” says Lindsay. “Our version is a treat for vegetarians, and includes the authentic banh pho noodles as well as all the hallmark flavours.”