Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
My first date with my partner was at a Vietnamese restaurant. I had never tasted pho, and he insisted that I try it. I became hooked immediately. Nearly five years later, we found ourselves crouched on tiny plastic stools in the alleyways of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, devouring bowls of steaming broth and noodles that were remarkably light yet complex in flavor. The richness of the broth was perfectly balanced by the endless array of toppings— fresh herbs, spicy chile peppers, tangy lime wedges, and crunchy bean sprouts. To achieve this depth of flavor, pho broth is traditionally simmered for hours. However, with pressure cooking, you can achieve a richly flavored broth in a fraction of the time. Begin by charring onions and ginger for smokiness and sweetness. And some tips about this step: Don’t skimp on the oil, or you’ll have a mess to scrape up; and you may want to wear long sleeves or gloves, as the hot oil can splatter. When topping the pho, tear up the fresh herbs, as it releases their essential oils and perfumes the soup with an intoxicating aroma.
Servings Prep Time
4people 30minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4people 30minutes
Cook Time
  • 12ounces dried rice noodlesdried rice sticks, or banh pho (see Tips)
  • 2tablespoons grapeseed oil or other neutralhigh- heat cooking oil
  • 2 medium yellow onionspeeled and halved
  • 4inch piece fresh gingerthinly sliced
  • 3 cardamom podslightly smashed with the back of a knife
  • 3 whole star anise pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Fuji applepeeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2cup fresh cilantroroughly chopped
  • 2tablespoons reduced- sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 2cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps(5- 6 ounces) 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (you can substitute water for up to 4 cups)
  • 1teaspoon kosher saltplus more to taste
  • 1 block baked tofucut into cubes, 6-8 ounce, see Tips
  • 3 scallionssliced on the diagonal
  • 1cup Thai basil leavestorn up
  • 1cup Cilantro leavestorn up
  • 2 limescut into wedges
  • 2cups bean sprouts
  • Thinly sliced hot chile peppers or Sriracha
  1. Place the dried rice noodles in a large bowl, cover with warm water, and soak until the noodles are pliable and opaque, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse them to remove excess starch. (Alternatively, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package.)
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the broth: Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and, after a few minutes, add the oil. Once the display reads “HOT,” add the onions and ginger slices, cut side down. Do not toss and allow to cook until charred and deeply browned, about 4 minutes .
  3. Add the whole spices (cardamom pods through black peppercorns) and cook for 1 minute , stirring the mixture frequently. Add the apple, cilantro, tamari, coconut sugar, and shiitakes. Pour the vegetable broth and/or water on top and stir to combine. Select the Cancel setting.
  4. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing . Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 15 minutes .
  5. Once the 15- minute timer has completed and beeps, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes and then switch the Pressure Release knob from Sealing to Venting to release any remaining steam.
  6. Open the pot and, using oven mitts, remove the inner pot. Carefully strain the broth into a fine- mesh sieve set over a large bowl (discard the solids). Season the broth with 1 teaspoon salt, stir, and taste. Add more salt as needed. Select the Cancel setting.
  7. Place the cooked rice noodles in individual bowls. Pour over the strained broth and add the baked tofu cubes. Top the pho with the scallions, basil, cilantro, lime wedges, bean sprouts, and chiles or Sriracha.
Recipe Notes

TIP: You can find pho noodles in well- stocked grocery stores or any Asian market, and they come in various thickness, ranging from 1/16 inch (narrow) to 1/4 inch (wide). For the baked tofu, I recommend a five-spice flavor.