The comfort foods of monsoons are usually spicy chaats or fried stuff, but it does not have to be like that.
While I have shared a lot of options like gluten-free puchkas, zero-oil millet dahi badas, today, I want to share something that was totally impromptu. It was rewarding to have prepared it with millet. It is a Vietnamese dish: I wanted to try the simplest version of vegan pho sans rice noodles.
Instead of processed noodles, I used boiled millet. And it turned out to be mind-blowing. More than the texture, the fresh homemade sriracha sauce and the flavours of cinnamon, star anise, garlic and bay leaf took this dish to another level.
If you are wondering how to prepare a comfort meal using millet, give this recipe a try. Read more for the step-by-step process and do check the video to understand the assembling of all the elements. Keep in mind that a majority of Vietnamese restaurants do not offer vegetarian broth options as authentic pho is usually made with beef broth. This recipe is a win-win in every way.
Vegan pho with millets
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
For the broth:
· ½ cup pumpkin chunks
· ½ cup French beans
· 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
· 2-star anise
· 1 bay leaf
· 4-inch cinnamon stick
· 5 cups water (can use vegetable stock, too)
· 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
· ½ tbsp coconut aminos (can use soya sauce here)
· Sea salt to taste
For the soup:
· 1 cup cooked kodo millet (can use unprocessed millet noodles made at home)
· 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
· Tofu for the topping
· Seasonal veggies like broccoli, carrot, bell peppers, etc.
· 2 heads bok choy (optional)
· Boiled chickpeas or bean sprouts
1. Dry-roast bay leaf, cinnamon, star anise until fragrant. Keep them aside. Please note, you can also add coriander seeds, cloves and black peppercorns. I wanted to keep it basic, so I did not add many raw spices.
2. Season a hot cast iron skillet with olive oil. On high heat, sauté tofu slices until they are brown. In the same pan, add your veggies like broccoli, peppers and mushrooms, etc.
3. In another deep pan, heat some oil and add dry roasted spices. Add pumpkin chunks, beans and other veggies and sauté them, too. Add vegetable stock or water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame to lowest and let it cook for another 30 minutes partly-covered to flavour the broth.
4. Sprinkle salt to the broth and add sriracha sauce and coconut aminos.
5. While the broth is piping hot, start assembling the soup.
6. To a large bowl, add cooked millet and cover them with vegetable broth along with chunks of pumpkin and other veggies.
7. Serve with the cooked tofu and load it with desired toppings immediately; enjoy while hot.
(Shalini Rajani is a millet coach, the founder of Crazy Kadchi. She holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops and Gluten-free Sourdough Baking Workshops for all age groups)