Been feeling a bit under the weather this past few days, so I’ve been mainlining my go-to eat-yourself-better soup. I’ll be honest, (lets get this out of the way now) – I discovered Pho in the streets of London’s West End, not Hanoi. Over the past couple of years though, I’ve robbed from various recipes having first tried to recreate it based on what flavours I could identify from those quick fix take-out lunches. The Stepdaughter said that the procrastination project needs more food, so here we go.
A quick, feel good supper if ever there was one. We all know that there are actual medicinal qualities to chicken soup, and if you make it with home made stock then there are some genuinely good-for -you nutrients, as well as packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, (probably why it’s commonly known as Jewish Penicillin – though a Pho is pretty much as far as you can get from the more traditional Western and Jewish soup recipes).
Ingredients: homemade chicken stock – I tend to do this after every roast and then freeze it down in bowl size portions for a quick grab when I want to use it. (Easiest thing in the world, boil that carcass left over from the roast away for about 8 hours if possible (the longer the better for getting the nutrients out) with whatever you can find lurking in the veg box – onions, carrots, leeks are all ideal. Just don’t put any potatoes or any of the cruciferous family in (broccoli, cabbage etc) add in some peppercorns and bay leaves plus a slug of cider vinegar if you have any, this leaches extra nutrients from the bones. I don’t add salt as if you used it in the cooking, as the flavour intensifies you’ll end up with a really salty stock by the time it’s done.
You’ll also need:
Part One – a large onion, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, a teaspoon of ginger (or if you’re one of those terribly organised people with a well stocked larder, a nub of fresh ginger) a cinnamon stick, a garlic clove, a chicken joint or some prawns (or tuna – whatever you fancy really, just adjust the cooking time so you don’t end up with rubbery fish)
Part 2 – rice noodles (or I use spiralised courgette if I’m being watchful of the carbs), red chilli, crushed peanuts, spring onions – these all give great flavour; you can also add in coriander (a personal hatred, hence not in the main list!), radishes, limes, lemongrass, bean sprouts.
Pop all the ingredients up to the end of part 1 in a pan, with the equivalent of say half a bowl of the stock and bring it up to a fast boil – at that point if you’re using chicken pop that in and reduce down to a simmer for about 20 minutes (check the chicken is cooked thoroughly) Take the chicken out and shred it, strain the stock and pop it back on the hob. Add the rice noodles or courgette spirals at this point and if you’re using fish in chicken, chuck that in now too. I tend to hoik the heat up to a proper full on boil for a quick couple of minutes – then serve, adding your chilli, peanuts, shredded spring onion and so on, as well of course as your chicken.
I tend to also add a drizzle of Sriracha sauce at this point. Enjoy with a good old slurp, be careful though as it’ll be volcanic lava hot by this point. And if you’re feeling poorly, nobody needs a burnt mouth on top of the sniffles…
If you have any great additions please do comment. Enjoy.