Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vietnamese Style Chicken Soup- Chicken Pho

I caught the most awful flu this week.  I was stuck in bed most of Monday and all day Tuesday.  I couldn't breathe and my throat was killing me.  The only thing that was appetizing to me in that condition was a brothy, gingery, soup.  Since we moved to Dallas, we kept seeing signs for "Vietnamese Pho" (pronounced "Fuh").  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, Pho is a Vietnamese soup where a clear broth is poured into a bowl and lots of toppings are added.  There are all kinds of toppings, but one of the more common ones is the one with really thin rare beef.  I have never had Pho, so I can't quite title this dish "Chicken Pho" because I have no idea what the original should taste like, but if my inclinations are right, it probably was very similar to this recipe.  Although, I did kind of use a shortcut by using store-bought broth instead of making it from scratch. But hey, under the circumstances, I'm sure you'll forgive me right?

Ingredients for the broth:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Quarts chicken stock
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp. fresh chopped ginger
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper

For the Toppings:
Sliced chicken breasts
Thinly sliced red onion
Chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced red pepper (or red chilies)
Fresh chopped ginger
Sugar snap peas or snow peas
Thinly sliced carrots
Lime juice
Cooked rice noodles (about 1/2 cup per person)

Optional condiments:
Hoisin Sauce
Siracha hot sauce

First thing to do is add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken breasts into the broth and let them cook.  Next add the ginger, coriander seeds, fish sauce and soy sauce.  Let everything cook undisturbed for about 30 minutes.  You'll notice that a foam from the chicken  will rise to the top of the broth- we'll have to strain the broth before serving.   Remove the chicken breasts, and rinse them well.   Once cooled, slice into really thin pieces and set aside.   In a separate pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles until they're al dente.  remove, and rinse with cold water to remove excess starch and to prevent the noodles from sticking.  Peel the carrots and cut them into long thin strips. Add some more water to a pot and blanch the carrots and sugar snap peas. Sliced the onions, red pepper,  and scallions and chop up the ginger and cilantro. Now run the broth through a fine mesh sieve and return to the pot (clean out the pot before adding the broth back in).  Bring the broth back up to a boil.  Add the toppings to a bowl and then scoop the boiling broth over the top.  Add any of the desired condiments I mentioned above and lots of lime.

Please note, traditional Pho usually has star anise added to the broth, but I am not a fan of licorice tastes so I omitted it.  Also, the traditional broth takes hours to make and is usually made with bones and skin, but I prefer the cleaner tastes of the chicken breasts. Lastly, one topping that is usually present in Pho is bean sprouts, but I didn't have any on hand.

This was one of those meals that I immediately feel like eating again, even though I just had it a few days ago.  Especially since the weather has been considerably cooler.


Frank Rizzo said...

ño que rico.

Jenna said...

I'm seriously in love with this recipe. Yum. We must have similar tastes, because I am drooling over everything you have posted!

Rox said...

Ha ha... I think we really do have similar tastes... I checked out your blog and I was drooling over your recipes too!

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