Pho. It’s like comfort in a bowl. Make it a Chicken Pho and I imagine that this is the Vietnamese version of Chicken Noodle Soup. Except it has better depth and a different flavor pallet. Don’t get me wrong, some chicken noodle soup can be good…but if you gave me a choice of Chicken Noodle Soup or Chicken Pho…well, sorry America.
Growing up, my family liked to eat at a lot of different restaurants and try different cuisines. I am thankful for that and will always have warm thoughts about getting together and catching up over Dim Sum. So when I opened my Christmas gift from my cousin Abby, I was excited to find a copy of Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan. I was instantly drawn to all the beautiful photographs and once I started reading some of the stories behind the dishes, I couldn’t wait to try them all.
This Chicken Pho was the perfect cure to a bad case of the rainy day blues I was rocking earlier this week. I was down on myself and just couldn’t get out of my own head. So a little comfort food — even if it came in the form of Vietnamese comfort food — was just what I needed to de-funkify myself.
I love that with Pho, it can kind of be a make your own bowl of soup. With all the different toppings you can add, every persons bowl at the table can be a little different. I, of course, wanted to use ALL of the possible toppings…but some people might just want some crispy fried shallots and spicy jalapeños. Make it your own and enjoy!
Yield: serves 6
3 quarts chicken stock (homemade if possible)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
fish sauce, for seasoning
1 (16 oz) package dried rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package directions
4 cups cooked & shredded chicken
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, minced
crispy fried shallots
mung bean sprouts
limes, cut into wedges
jalapeños, thinly sliced
In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Add ginger and fish sauce to taste.
Ready the garnishes. Arrange cilantro, fried shallots, bean sprouts, limes and jalapeño slices on a platter and place on table for easy access.
Divide the rice noodles evenly among bowls. Top each serving with about 3/4 cup shredded chicken, then divide the cilantro and green onions evenly among the bowls.
Ladle the hot stock over the top, dividing it evenly. Serve immediately, accompanied with the platter of garnishes.
adapted from Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan