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Here is a Vietnamese pho soup type broth, made using shrimps and shrimp stock.

You can add other vegetables and herbs or/and noodles, or use beef or chicken stock instead of shrimp/fish stock.

Pho soup

about 10 to 15 raw, unshelled tiger prawns or other large shrimps, fresh or frozen (about 230 - 350 g unshelled, without heads or 200 - 300 g shelled)
about 750 - 800 ml vegetable and shrimp stock  —  see below
(extra vegetable or fish stock if needed,
eg made with fumet)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 lemongrass stem
2 kaffir lime leaves, fresh, frozen or dried
thinly sliced red chilli to taste
1½ tbsp fish sauce
juice from ½ lime
1 tsp soft brown sugar or palm sugar
vegetables: julienne-cut carrots, sliced sugar/snap pea pods, sliced leek (white part), stewed, sliced spring onion, thinly sliced brown champignons or shiitake mushrooms, fresh enoki mushrooms,
fresh herbs: Thai basil, coriander and mint
vegetable and shrimp stock:
shells (and heads) from the shelled shrimps (about 35 - 50 g, shells only)
1 large carrot
1 small/medium onion
green part of leek
pinch of thyme
1 dried bay leaf
a few white peppercorns
pinch of salt
dash of lemon juice
(dash of white wine)
a few thick dill stalks
flat-leaf parsley stalks
1000 ml water

If using frozen prawns, let them thaw in refrigerator overnight. Shell and devein the prawns, reserving the shells (and heads, if attached), which will be used in cooking the stock.

Shrimp stock boiling on the stove To cook the stock, brush or peel the carrot, peel the onion and cut them into chunks. Rinse the green part of the leek and cut in smaller pieces. Place the prepared vegetables and the reserved prawn shells (and heads) in a saucepan or pot, add the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt and cover with water. Add a bit of lemon juice (and/or white wine) and tuck in the dill and parsley stalks.

Bring the stock to the boil, reduce the heat a bit and let the stock simmer for about 45 - 60 minutes. If there is much foam forming on the surface, you can skim it with a slotted spoon.

In picture on right: vegetable and shrimp shell stock boiling on the stove.

Strain the stock and measure it  —  if there is less than 750 millilitres of stock, add some good-quality commercial (or homemade) vegetable or fish stock to get 750 to 800 millilitres.

To prepare the pho broth, remove the outer leaves from the lemongrass and finely chop the inner part. Tear the fresh kaffir lime leaves in pieces or roughly crush the dried ones. Place the ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and some sliced chilli in a saucepan or pot (saving some chilli for garnish) and pour over the stock. Bring the stock to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.

Strain the stock and pour it back in the pot. Add the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and bring to the boil again. Add the vegetables that you are using: first the julienne-carrots and boil for about 1 minute, then the sugar/snap peas and leeks and boil for about 1½ minutes, then the mushrooms. Boil the vegetables just until almost tender, for a couple of minutes at most.

Pho soup

Add the prawns and cook for 1½ minutes or until they turn opaque. Add the spring onion and sprinkle sliced chilli and chopped Thai basil, coriander and mint on top.
Serves 2.

Recipe source: adapted from "Tuoksuva pho-keitto/Fragrant pho", Spencer, Mimi, and Sarah Schenker (2014) 5:2-dieetti reseptit. Trans. Jenna Yli-Knuuttila. Helsinki: WSOY.


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