12ouncesdried rice noodles,dried rice sticks, or banh pho*
2tablespoonsgrapeseed oil or other neutral,high-heat cooking oil
2medium yellow onions,peeled and halved
4-inchpiece fresh ginger,thinly sliced
3cardamom pods,lightly smashed with the back of a knife
3whole star anise pods
1⁄2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1Fuji apple,peeled and cut into large chunks
1⁄2 cup fresh cilantroroughly chopped
2tablespoonsreduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2cupssliced shiitake mushroom caps(5 to 6 ounces)
8cupslow-sodium vegetable broth(you can substitute water for up to 4 cups)
1teaspoonkosher salt,plus more to taste
1(6- or 8-ounce) block baked tofu, cut into cubes (I used a five-spice flavor, which went really well with the other flavors)
3scallions,sliced on the diagonal
1cupThai basil leaves,torn up
1cupcilantro leaves,torn up
2limes,cut into wedges
Thinly sliced hot chile peppers or Sriracha
Place the dried rice noodles in a large bowl, cover with warm water, and soak until the noodles are pliable and opaque, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse them to remove excess starch. (Alternatively, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package.)
Meanwhile, prepare the Broth: Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and, after a few minutes, add the oil. Once the display reads “HOT,” add the onions and ginger slices, cut side down. Do not toss and allow to cook until charred and deeply browned, about 4 minutes.
Add the whole spices (cardamom pods through black peppercorns) and cook for 1 minute, stirring the mixture frequently. Add the apple, cilantro, tamari, coconut sugar, and shiitakes. Pour the vegetable broth and/or water on top and stir to combine.
Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 15 minutes.
Once the 15-minute timer has completed and beeps, allow a natural pressure release for
10 minutes and then switch the Pressure Release knob from Sealing to Venting to release any remaining steam.
Open the pot and, using oven mitts, remove the inner pot. Carefully strain the broth into a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl (discard the solids). Season the broth with 1 teaspoon salt, stir, and taste. Add more salt as needed.
Place the cooked rice noodles in individual bowls. Pour over the strained broth and add the baked tofu cubes. Top the pho with the scallions, basil, cilantro, lime wedges, bean sprouts, and chiles or Sriracha.
*You can find pho noodles in well-stocked grocery stores or any Asian market. They come in various thickness, ranging from 1⁄16 inch (narrow) to 1⁄4 inch (wide).