Friday, November 4, 2011

recipes: an easy faux pho

Faux Pho (photo: mine)
My husband and I love pho--a Vietnamese style noodle soup--but I've held off making it because authentic pho involves bone-in beef or chicken to give the broth its amazing flavor and I usually don't have the time to dedicate to that. So when I ran across this recipe for Faux Pho, I decided to give it a go--and I was pleasantly surprised. It isn't authentic pho, but it is very yummy!

(photo: mine)
I used most of the ingredients in Denise's recipe, but being conscious of calories I decided to use a pound of thinly sliced chicken breast instead of beef (I thawed and sliced up some frozen chicken breast tenders from Trader Joe's). I used the same amount of garlic and ginger, the spices (red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamon), and fish sauce, but only half the amount (two tablespoons) of sesame oil. I also used more chicken broth (32 ounces) and less of beef flavored broth (16 ounces). The recipe is super simple: while soaking the rice noodles in hot tap water, saute the chicken slices with the garlic, ginger and red pepper and then add the broth and spices and simmer for 10 minutes. While the soup is simmering, I prepared our selection of garnishes: green onions (I sliced them in one inch slivers as well as chopping them), half a small head of thinly sliced cabbage, a lime cut into wedges, bean sprouts, thinly sliced fresh basil leaves and sambal oelek sauce (a very hot chili paste). (Denise suggests a variety of other condiments, including cilantro, mint, jalapenos, sriracha sauce and hosin sauce.) Rinse the noodles and then place in the bottom of large bowls, add the broth and noodles, and top with any or all of the garnishes.

As a note, I've also made this soup with shrimp, and Denise says pork, fish and tofu are also good choices.

If you are looking for a simple way to make a pho style soup, this is a good one. It's not the authentic one, but then the recipe's very name acknowledges that, heh. Enjoy!

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