In my weird world there are two kinds of people – those that love soupy-kinda dishes and those that don’t! I clearly belong to the first category. I especially like soups that make a whole balanced meal (that has meat, veggies and carbs in perfect harmony) – all in just one large soup bowl. So in that series, a while back I had posted a recipe for the Indonesian Ox tail soup, then Mexican Tortilla soup and this time around I am heading to Vietnam for Pho.
1. One medium sized whole chicken (skin on)
2. 2-3 stalks of celery
3. 3-4 carrots
4. 2-3 cloves of garlic
5. A one-inch or so nub of ginger root
6. One stalk of lemongrass
7. One lime
8. A cup of fresh bean sprouts
9. 2-3 bunches of baby Bok Choy
10. Some Sriracha Sauce (as much as you like)
11. Some fish sauce (as much as you like)
12. One packet of extra thin rice noodles
13. One bunch of fresh mint leaves
14. One bunch of fresh cilantro leaves
15. Some fried shallots (available at Asian Grocery Stores in bottled containers) or you could fry some of your own.
1. In a large pot place the whole chicken and cover it with water and bring the water to boil over high heat.
2. When the water comes to its first boil, drain all the water out of the pot (this step is necessary to remove the unsightly foam from the soup and to ensure that we get a clear broth at the end)
3. Fill fresh water into the pot and add the carrots, celery, lemongrass, peeled garlic cloves, ginger root and continue cooking the soup on low heat for about an hour or so longer (the length of time depends on the size of the chicken).
4. I don’t add salt to the soup because I use fish sauce (which is very salty) to salt the soup but if you don’t like fish sauce, add some salt at this stage.
5. Let the chicken cool down and when it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the top and shred the meat in bite sized pieces.
6. Remove the cooked carrots, celery, ginger root from the soup and place the boneless shredded chicken pieces back to the soup and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
7. Cook the rice noodles in a separate pot of water (as per the directions on the packet) – try not to overcook the noodles (they are very soft and they cook very quickly). Rinse the noodles under cold water and serve them on the side of the soup.
8. Serve the soup while it is still very hot and in a large bowl with the following ingredients on the side that each person can add to the soup (in amounts they prefer) : fish sauce, Sriracha sauce , mint leaves, cilantro leaves, chopped Bok Choy leaves, bean sprouts, cooked noodles, fresh lime juice and fried shallots.