Wednesday, June 2, 2010

chicken pho, a.k.a. phở gà

if there were a food about which i could write a book, pho might be that food. pronounced "fuh", pho is a delicious vietnamese brothy noodle soup that kicks classic chicken noodle soup to the curb, in my opinion. i crave it. my husband and i fell in love over pho. the wonderful sauces and herbs you add to it make a heavenly aroma. and we've seen pho restaurants with some of the goofiest names, such as "9021pho", "pho that", and "what the pho?". i mean, come on!

it is typically served with sliced rare beef, tripe and tendon, and the broth is made in a slow cooking process involving oxtail. well, kids, this blogger isn't much for red meat or for all-day cooking affairs, so when dao, a vietnamese friend of ours, offered to teach me how to make a simpler, quicker chicken version i squealed at the opportunity. and it is delicious!

chicken pho (phở gà in vietnamese)
2 cans chicken broth
2" of fresh ginger (whole, but peeled)
1 quartered small onion
5 star anise
2 chicken breasts
1-2 T. fish sauce, if desired (you can substitute salt)
1 lb. rice stick noodles (damp or dry)

fresh basil
fresh cilantro
bean sprouts
sriracha sauce
hoisin sauce
hanh dam (thinly sliced onion soaked in vinegar - so good)

bring broth and 3-4 cans water to boil. add ginger, onion & anise and bring back to boil. once boiling, add chicken breasts, simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. remove chicken, cut into thin slices, set aside. (i taste the broth here and add fish sauce or salt to taste - you want it to be salty as adding the noodles later will lessen the salinity). bring water to boil in another pot and cook noodles til just done (don't overcook!). drain and place noodles in individual bowls, add some chicken, and cover in broth. rip up basil & cilantro leaves into soup & garnish as desired!
this broth can be frozen, too.

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