I was reading this Lucky Peach Pho article the other day, and it got me craving a nice, warm bowl of pho. I wanted this recipe to be a quick and easy cheat - that it be something you can make fast and will satisfy your craving, but do a good job of it. I ended up creating a chicken version and a vegetarian version with tofu. Both are great and the protein can be added last minute in case there are people who eat one or the other.
Surprisingly, although there are all these complex flavors - star anise, cinnamon, corriander and cloves, the soup comes together really well even after just 30 minutes. To save time, I cooked my proteins in the broth and also my rice noodles, which I soaked in cold water first (big tip!). This broth is definitely one you can freeze and the next time you get a craving or want to make a quick dinner, just melt the broth and add some cooked chicken and rice noodles.
Really though, pho is one of those rare instances where neither the protein nor the noodles are the star of the dish; it's the background broth surrounding the whole thing that gives this Vietnamese noodle dish its distinctive and uttering delicious characteristic. Hope you all enjoy!