Sometimes called 'Pho', this is one of those Eastern soupy-stew recipes that is really aromatic and satisfying. Just make sure you get the thicker rice noodles, not the 'bird's nest' type! If you would prefer to use brown rice noodles, check cooking time on the packet and adjust accordingly - they may take a bit longer.
Clearspring makes brown rice and brown rice udon noodles - try Waitrose or a good health food shop. It is also possible to buy ready-cooked rice noodles - eg Asda's Fresh Taste with Spring Onions - which just need adding to the dish right at the end. Just check there is no added egg!
Options: for added protein, add marinaded tofu chunks, lightly steamed fresh soya beans or peas. Add the peas or soya beans a couple of minutes before serving, add the tofu at the end to warm through briefly prior to serving.
Gluten-free and wheat-free options
use rice or other GF noodles
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 green chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped (unless you like very hot food)
55g/2oz ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
2-3 spears lemon grass, trimmed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced or grated on big holes
110g/4oz mushrooms, finely chopped
570ml/1pt strong vegetable stock (Marigold bouillon, red or purple tub is good)
2-3 leeks, trimmed and sliced into chunks
2-3 courgettes, trimmed and sliced into chunks
1 very small cauliflower, broken into small florets
255g/9oz thick rice noodles, NOT the ones that look like a bird's nest
Zest and juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1. Heat sesame oil in large saucepan, add chilli, ginger root and garlic and cook over a low heat for a moment.
2. Add lemon grass, carrots and mushrooms. Cover and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add stock, leeks and courgettes, cover and simmer for further 2 minutes.
4. Add cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in rice noodles, cover pan and turn off heat. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in lime zest and juice and salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold.
5. Place in serving dish and sprinkle with coriander leaves. Even better served with a peanut and tahini sauce. (Mix together 1 tbsp of peanut butter, 1 tbsp of tahini, 2 tbsps soya sauce and a pinch of dried chilli flakes).