Cool fun fact: I’ve always had a recipe for French Onion Soup, but it suuUuUuuUuuck3d. Here’s hoping no one ever made it, but if you did (why??), my dude, I apologize. So, I’ve decided to update my outdated recipe with a brand new one. Look how it sparkles with my cute mini Le Creuset cocettes! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO CUTE? Yeah, don’t answer that, of course, you have. I probably should’ve posted a more summer-friendly recipe because who wants to eat piping hot soup right now? Well, you know what? I live in New England & this damn region doesn’t obey the laws of seasons. Seasons are light suggestions. Calendar says it’s summer? EL OH EL, try again. New England says it’s still autumn so it’s cold & raining, but tomorrow it’ll be hot, humid, & thundering. Drunk seasons are fun! Yay! (Help me).
Wow, Tiffany, a “pho pun”, how original. I know, right? Have I devolved into dad jokes? Never, because I’m too hilarious for that. I just had to, because I’m finally publishing my 100% vegan pho recipe. Told you I’d never forget you. I took a really long hiatus, but I’m present, I promise. I even added a bunch of new albums in the gallery – granted half of them are from last year. It’s been a busy year, get off my back, y’all!! I’ll get around to my European photos by the end of this month…I hope.. Anyway, back to the pho: whether you’re a meat eater or not, it’s a scrumptious recipe, so you can take your reservations & judgment & shove it right up your hairy nose holes. Pho is pronounced “fuh?” not “foe”. Source: I’m Vietnamese. There’s a question mark to indicate that you’re supposed to raise your voice as if you’re asking a question. In Vietnamese, pho has two question marks on the “O”, so trust me & lower your inquisitive eyebrow. If you’re an avid meat eater & think the idea of pho being vegan is absurd, you better swipe left right on out of here. Vietnam is known as one of the least religious countries in the world as its main “religion” aka folklore/cultural beliefs is heavily influenced by Taoism, Confucianism, & Buddhism. Many Buddhists are vegetarian/vegan, thus the meat-free versions of Vietnamese cuisine is 1 trillion times better than any quinoa kale salad you’ve ever had. There are lots of great vegetarian restaurants in Vietnam, so open your minddDdddD.
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One of the most physically annoying things about aging is not the wrinkles & fine lines visibly showing–get on those anti-aging serums, stay out of the sun, use sunblock, moisturize daily, get ahold of some Asian genes, etc–but that agonizing pain in the back of your mandible. You know the pain I’m talking about, right? That jerk wisdom tooth who’s popping up to say, “hey gurl, sup?” & your response is, “BYE FELICIA, DISAPPEAR.” That pain. Yeahhhh, so since I can only pop so many pills of Motrin before I destroy my liver & overdose, all my food choices have been solely categorized under, “can I feed this to a baby?” and “cannot feed to baby.” Thank goodness for my random craving for cháo (also known as congee or rice porridge) a few weeks ago because it’s so easy to make & I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Also, it falls under the, “10/10 can feed this to a baby.” I mean, it’s not exactly healthy to be exclusively eating it because rice is not going to fulfill the essential vitamin spectrum for a healthy body, but look, my mouth hurts to chew so I’m going to choose to slurp on rice porridge. That’s where the versatility comes into play though! Dressing up porridge with your favorite ingredients will help you get over the general boringness that is porridge.
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Growing up in a Vietnamese household, the only time you ever really ate cháo or Vietnamese rice porridge, was when you were sick. I was never the biggest fan of it because it was always so plain, but now that I’m older & more adventurous with my cooking, I’m revisiting the dish. Borrowing some ingredients from other Asian countries, it’s easy to create a perfectly seasoned rice porridge/cháo/congee that’s great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Use this recipe as a base for whatever delightful protein you choose to add to it whether it’s tofu, fish, an assortment of vegetables & mushrooms, or meat.
How to Reheat: It’s best to reheat rice porridge in a small saucepan with about half a cup of broth or water & part of bouillon cube or paste. I use about a teaspoon of Hon Dashi (bonito fish stock), but you can use whatever you’d like. Reheating on the stovetop allows me to add uncooked ingredients like mushrooms, egg, or tofu. You can also do the same thing in the microwave.
- 2 cups rice
- 12 cups water
- 1 Tbsp Hon Dashi (fish stock) or any type of prepared stock base or miso
- 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 Tbsp wakame
- 1 knob of ginger, peeled & quartered (about 5 cm or 2″)
- 1 cup carrots, sliced (optional)
- 3 cups napa cabbage, roughly chopped (optional)
Savory Topping Ideas
- Preserved Duck Egg aka Century Egg
- Fried onions
- Soy sauce or tamari or ponzu sauce
- Tofu or any other protein
- Mushroom (shiitake or enoki are personal favorites)
- Rinse rice in a strainer until the water runs slightly milky.
- In a dutch oven or a large nonstick pot, add rice & water, Hon Dashi, soy sauce, wakame, ginger, carrots, & cabbage. Stir to mix. Place a lid over the pot & bring it to a boil on medium heat.
- When the broth comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. Lift the lid, leaving it slightly ajar so that the pot is not covered completely. Cook for an hour & 15 minutes or until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally & add more water when needed.
- Remove from heat & ladle the porridge in a bowl, topping it with your favorite ingredients.
- Whether you have short grain, long-grain, jasmine, or brown rice it doesn’t matter. You can use any rice you have on hand!
- HonDashi can be found at an Asian grocery store. It can be expensive (well worth it though, highly recommend), so a great alternative is any sort of vegetable bouillon whether it’s a paste or in little cubes.
- If you’re not a fan of wakame, try using a few 7-10 cm pieces of dried kombu. That way you can remove the kombu when you’re ready to eat the soup.
- Prep Time: 10 m
- Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
- Category: Brunch
- Method: Stove-Top
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: chao, rice, porridge, congee, soup, breakfast, brunch, asian, vietnamese, chinese, japanese, recipes, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, pescatarian
In an attempt to be more festive because I haven’t had the time to make Thanksgiving themed recipes, I’m sharing with y’all recipes I’ve written in the past–all which make great Thanksgiving dishes–& recipes from others. I’m partial to these food bloggers because they interact with their readers, so please give their recipes & websites a visit. Such beautiful scrumptious pictures & recipes, what’s not to love? Shameless plugs + friendly plugs, simple, short, & sweet. Hopefully these recipes get you inspired to get cookin’ this holiday season.