Vibrant and flavorful Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) soup, featuring a rich broth filled with noodles, tofu, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, topped with fresh lime wedges and chili peppers for a tantalizing and satisfying dining experience

Bún Bò Huế Chay (Vegan Hue-styled Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

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Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) is a delightful twist on the classic Hue-style spicy beef noodle soup. This plant-based alternative captures all the flavors of the original dish without sacrificing taste. The broth is infused with slow-cooked vegetables and aromatic lemongrass, boasting an explosion of incredible flavors.

Personally, I am captivated by the bold and fiery essence of Bun Bo Hue, surpassing even renowned Vietnamese noodle dishes like Phở. Whenever I yearn for a lighter, meat-free rendition of this beloved dish, this recipe for Vegan Bun Bo Hue is my ultimate choice.

Vibrant and flavorful Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) soup, featuring a rich broth filled with noodles, tofu, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, topped with fresh lime wedges and chili peppers for a tantalizing and satisfying dining experience

🙋‍♀️ What is Bun Bo Hue Chay?

Bún Bò Huế Chay is a vegan/vegetarian version of the traditional Hue-style beef noodles. In Vietnamese, “Bún” means “noodles,” “Bò” means “beef,” and “Chay” signifies “vegetarian” or “vegan”.

Actually, Vietnamese people often refer to it as “Bún Huế Chay,” omitting the word “Bò” to emphasize its vegan nature and remove any association with animal products.

Vibrant and flavorful Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) soup, featuring a rich broth filled with noodles, tofu, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, topped with fresh lime wedges and chili peppers for a tantalizing and satisfying dining experience

🍲 Key Components of Vegan Bun Bo Hue

Broth:

Lemongrass: The essential ingredient that gives Vegan Bun Bo Hue its distinct flavor is the aromatic lemongrass. Your Vegan Bun Bo Hue can’t be complete without lemongrass.

Red color: The distinctive red hue in Bun Bo Hue comes from Vietnamese Sate sauce, which adds both spiciness and an appealing red appearance to the dish.

Close-up photo of a jar filled with vibrant red Vietnamese Sate Sauce or Vietnamese Chili Oil, showcasing its rich and spicy aroma. The sauce is made from crushed chili peppers, lemongrass, garlic, and other flavorful ingredients, adding a delightful kick to Vietnamese cuisine.

Broth: To create a flavorful vegan broth, I combine a medley of vegetables and fruits, including apple, pineapple, carrot, leek, and corn on the cob.

While pineapple is particularly important for achieving the distinct taste of Bun Bo Hue Chay broth, when it comes to other vegetables and fruits, just feel free to substitute them with pear, onion, daikon, kohlrabi, cabbage, and red radish.

Ingredients for Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue)

Soybean sauce: In the traditional version, Hue shrimp paste (mắm ruốc Huế) is used to enhance the soup’s umami taste.

However, in this vegan adaptation, I have substituted shrimp paste with soybean and mushroom sauce (or even miso or fermented bean curd) to retain the umami flavor of the vegan broth.

Ingredients for Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue)

Seasoning: rather than shrimp paste and fish sauce, for the vegan version, I opted for salt, mushroom seasoning powder and soy bean sauce (you could use soy sauce also). To achieve a balanced taste in the broth, a touch of rock sugar is added.

Toppings:

Toppings: For toppings, I just used readily available ingredients from my local Asian market, such as fried tofu puffs, king oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms, Vietnamese Shiitake mushrooms (nấm hương), and enoki mushrooms.

However, you could substitute them with alternatives like TVP (textured vegetable protein), seitan, vegan ham, or vegan sausages.

Ingredients for Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue)

Noodles and Herbs

Noodles: I know some may argue that authentic Bun Bo Hue uses thick round rice noodles; however, if you visit Hue (the birthplace of this dish), you’ll find out Bun Bo Hue is actually served with thin rice noodles.

Interestingly, thick rice noodles are commonly paired with Bun Bo Hue outside of Hue lol. So, feel free to choose either thick or thin rice noodles based on your preference.

Herbs and Vegetables: In Vietnam, there is a wide variety of herbs that can be served with Bun Bo Hue. Many people enjoy it with cilantro, some prefer Thai basil, while personally, and as well as many others, I love to garnish my Bun Bo Hue with Vietnamese coriander (rau răm or Laksa leaves).

When it comes to vegetables, the options are diverse as well. Vietnamese morning glory (rau muống), banana blossom, mung bean sprouts, and thinly-sliced lettuce are commonly served alongside Bun Bo Hue in Vietnam.

📝 How to make vegan Bun Bo Hue

Make the broth:

  1. Prior to cooking, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 500ml (around 2 cups) water for 2 hours to rehydrate them. Retain the soaked mushrooms for preparing toppings and save the soaking water to use in the broth.
  2. Cut the vegetables and fruits, such as apple, pineapple, carrot, and corn, into bite-sized chunks. For the leeks, cut them into 10-cm (4-inch) sticks.
  3. Take the lemongrass stalks and trim them into 10-cm (4-inch) sticks. Give them a gentle smash to release their aromatic flavors during cooking.
Hu Tieu Bo Kho Instant Pot instructions: Learn how to make this flavorful Vietnamese beef stew using the Instant Pot.
  1. Make the Broth:

Stove-top Method:

In a large pot, combine all the prepared vegetables, fruits, and lemongrass. Fill the pot with approximately 2 liters (around 8.5 cups) of water (or adjust accordingly based on the pot size).

Add 1 tablespoon of salt and around 15 grams of rock sugar (around 1 tablespoon). Close the lid and simmer the mixture over low heat for about 1.5 hours.

Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) instructions

Instant Pot Method:

Place all the ingredients, following the same preparation as above, into the Instant Pot. Fill the Instant Pot about two-thirds full with water.

Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to cook under high pressure mode for 30 minutes. Once cooked, perform a quick release of the pressure.

  1. After the cooking process, remove the apple, leek, and pineapple from the pot. Press all the cooked vegetables through a strainer to extract any remaining umami juice. Add this juice back to the pot to enhance the flavor of the broth.
  1. Incorporate the soaking water from the shiitake mushrooms into the broth. Add additional water as needed to reach a total volume of approximately 3 liters (12.5 cups) for the broth.

Prepare the toppings:

Toppings for Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue)
  1. In a pan, heat around 4 tablespoons of Vietnamese sate sauce (adjust according to your preferred level of spiciness).
  2. Stir-fry the shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, and tofu puffs (excluding enoki mushrooms) in the Sate chili oil . Season the stir-fried toppings with soybean sauce.
Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) instructions
  1. Transfer all the stir-fried toppings to the broth, making sure to add some broth to the pan to extract any remaining umami flavors.
Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) instructions
  1. Add the enoki mushrooms to the broth and simmer for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to harmonize and meld together.
  2. Adjust the seasoning of the broth to your taste preferences.

Assemble Bun Bo Hue Chay:

  1. Cook the Bun Bo Hue noodles according to the instructions on the package. Then, drain and rinse the noodles under cold water.
  2. Arrange the cooked rice noodles in a bowl, along with the tofu and mushroom toppings. Pour the flavorful broth over the noodles and toppings. Then, garnish the dish with your choice of herbs.
Vibrant and flavorful Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) soup, featuring a rich broth filled with noodles, tofu, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, topped with fresh lime wedges and chili peppers for a tantalizing and satisfying dining experience

🌟 Tips and Tricks for Vegan Bun Bo Hue

  • If you don’t have Vietnamese Sate Sauce on hand (although I highly recommend having this versatile condiment in your pantry), you can make a quick sate sauce by stir-frying finely minced lemongrass with annatto oil and dried chili flakes.
  • If you opt for thick round noodles in your Vegan Bun Bo Hue, consider soaking the noodles before cooking. This will help reduce the cooking time.
  • Keep in mind that the broth should be slightly more salty than your desired flavor. The flavors of the broth will be diluted when served with noodles and vegetables, so a slightly stronger broth will ensure a well-balanced final dish.
Vibrant and flavorful Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan Bun Bo Hue) soup, featuring a rich broth filled with noodles, tofu, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, topped with fresh lime wedges and chili peppers for a tantalizing and satisfying dining experience

The Best Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vietnamese Vegan Bun Bo Hue)

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Vegan Bun Bo Hue, also known as Bun Bo Hue Chay, is a delightful take on of the traditional Vietnamese Hue-style spicy beef noodles. This plant-based alternative retains all the flavors of the original dish. With my adaption, the broth is carefully crafted with slow-cooked vegetables and fragrant lemongrass, resulting in a burst of incredible flavors.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • 1 Large Pot
  • 1 Pan

Ingredients
  

Broth (you don't need to include all of the vegetables listed)

  • 10 cup water (2.5 liter)
  • ¼ pineaple (recommended)
  • 1 medium carrot (optional)
  • 1 leek (optional)
  • 1 apple (optional)
  • 1 sweet corn on the cob (optional)
  • 4 lemongrass stalks (slightly smashed)
  • 15 small Shiitake mushrooms (or 5-6 big Shiitake)
  • 1 tbsp (15g) Rock Sugar (to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp Salt (to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp Mushroom or Vegetable seasoning powder (to your taste)

Toppings (you don't need to include all of topping listed)

  • 1 king oyster mushrooms (sliced) (optional)
  • 1 pack fried tofu puffs (optional)
  • 1 pack enoki mushrooms (optional)
  • 5-6 button mushrooms (sliced) (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Soy bean sauce (or Miso or Fermented Bean Curd)
  • 4-5 tbsp Vietnamese Sate Sauce

Noodles and herbs

  • 1 pack Dried Rice Noodles
  • Vegetables (Mung bean sprouts, thinly sliced lettuce) (optional)
  • Herbs (Cilantro, Thai Basil, Vietnamese coriander) (optional)

Instructions
 

Preparing the Broth:

  • Begin by soaking the dried shiitake mushrooms in 500ml (around 2 cups) of water for approximately 2 hours to rehydrate them. Save the soaked mushrooms for later use as toppings and retain the soaking water to incorporate into the broth.
  • Cut the vegetables and fruits, such as apple, pineapple, carrot, and corn, into bite-sized chunks. Additionally, cut the leeks into 10-cm (4-inch) sticks.
  • Trim the lemongrass stalks into 10-cm (4-inch) sticks and gently crush them to release their aromatic flavors.
  • Making the Broth:
    Stove-top Method: In a large pot, combine the prepared vegetables, fruits, lemongrass. Fill the pot with around 2 liters (8.5 cups) of water (adjusting according to the pot size).
    Add 1 tablespoon of salt and around 15 grams (1tbsp) of rock sugar. Close the lid and simmer the mixture over low heat for about 1.5 hours.
    Instant Pot Method: Place all similar the ingredients into the Instant Pot. Fill the Instant Pot about two-thirds full with water.
    Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to cook under high pressure mode for 30 minutes. Once cooked, perform a quick release of the pressure.
  • Once the cooking process is complete, take out the apple, leek, and pineapple from the pot. Press all the cooked vegetables through a strainer to extract any remaining umami juice. Return this juice back to the pot to intensify the flavor of the broth.
  • Include the soaking water from the shiitake mushrooms in the broth. If necessary, add more water to achieve a total volume of approximately 3 liters (12.5 cups) for the broth.

Preparing the Toppings:

  • Heat 4 tablespoons of Vietnamese sate sauce in a pan, adjusting the amount according to your preferred level of spiciness.
  • Stir-fry the shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, and tofu puffs (excluding enoki mushrooms) in the sate chili oil . Season the stir-fried toppings with 2tbsp of soybean sauce.
  • Transfer all the stir-fried toppings to the broth, ensuring to add some broth to the pan to extract any remaining umami flavors.
  • Add the enoki mushrooms to the broth and simmer for a few minutes, allowing all the flavors to blend together evenly.
  • Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning according to your personal preferences (add more salt and mushroom seasoning powder as desired).

Assembling Vegan Bun Bo Hue:

  • Cook the Bun Bo Hue noodles following the instructions on the package. Once cooked, drain and rinse the noodles under cold water.
  • Arrange the cooked rice noodles in a bowl, and top them with the tofu and mushroom toppings. Pour the flavorful broth over the noodles and toppings. Garnish the dish with your preferred herbs and enjoy!!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5/5 - (39 votes)

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