Phast phresh pho

    serves 4

    Pho, pronounced fuh, is a hearty Vietnamese soup traditionally made with beef. In this quick and tasty, albeit nontraditional, version, seitan, or wheat meat, replaces the beef. Look for seitan in the refrigerated section of natural food stores. If you can’t find it, substitute one of the vegetarian “beef” strip products available under different brand names. Fresh rice noodles help with the speed of this recipe, but, as noted below, linguine makes a good substitute.
    5 cups water

    2 teaspoons fresh or bottled minced ginger

    ¼ cup hoisin sauce

    1 teaspoon chili paste

    1 bunch scallions, minced

    4 ounces seitan, cut into strips

    6 ounces fresh flat rice noodles (see Note)

    2 tablespoons tamari

    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

    2 tablespoons dark miso paste

    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

    ¾ cup fresh bean sprouts

    ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

    Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the ginger, hoisin, chili paste, and half of the scallions. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the seitan, noodles, tamari, and lime juice.

    Remove ½ cup of the hot liquid to a small bowl. Stir the miso paste into the liquid to blend well, then return to the soup. Stir in the sesame oil and bean sprouts; simmer for 3 minutes to blend the flavors.
    To serve, ladle the soup into a large tureen or individual bowls and garnish with the cilantro and the remaining scallions. Serve hot.

    note: Fresh rice noodles are available at
    Asian markets. They are cooked and ready to use in recipes. If unavailable, use dried rice noodles and prepare according to package directions. Otherwise, this recipe can also be made with linguine.