Tuesday, February 5, 2013

a comforting chicken pho

When a bit of an illness hits you, there's always a go to food for comfort and nourishment. hicken noodle soup from a packet seemed to be the way my Mum brought colour back into my cheeks, but now I'm all grown up and fancy I can assume another level for this miracle remedy.

Pho has to be one of the better known Vietnamese dishes, a sustaining bowl of fragrant noodle soup full of lovely bits and pieces. Good-quality home-made stock is considered vital by those in the know, but if you're short of time, use tubs of fresh stock from the store and just make sure you pack it full of all the amazing contrasts of flavours the broth is generally famed for. This recipe could easily be made with big fat prawns of strips of beef instead of chicken.

Chicken pho

Serves 2

600ml chicken stock
2.5cm chunk of fresh ginger, sliced thickly
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 star anise
1 bundle of vermicelli rice noodles
1 tblsp fish sauce
1 free range chicken breast, sliced very thinly
A few sprigs of fresh coriander and mint
4 spring onions, finely sliced
A handful of bean sprouts
1 red chilli, finely sliced
A lime, quartered

Heat the stock with the ginger, garlic, star anise and a good grind of black pepper. Simmer very gently for half an hour or so, topping up with water if necessary

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, drain while still a little undercooked and rinse under a cold tap. Stir the fish sauce into the stock.

Divide the noodles between two bowls and top with slices of raw chicken. Pour the boiling broth over the top, which will cook the meat instantly.

Scatter with a little coriander and put more on the table, along with the mint, spring onions, bean sprouts, chilli and lime wedges, for people to add to the soup.

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