Pho (actually pronounced fur… poet’s licence used in the title) is a traditional vietnamese meal comprised of sliced beef or chicken in a rich stock with flat rice noodles and plenty of fresh herbs and a little chilli and lime.
This recipe is perfect for any time of year. It’s light, warming, full of flavour and very easy to make at home. I first ate Pho at Westfield Mall and then a few months later in Singapore’s Ion Food Court. Both versions compelled me to do some more research into making a clarified chicken stock to re-create the intensity of flavours made by these humble Asian meal masters! It also happens to be gluten free, so this simple dish guarantees happy tummies all around 🙂 !
For the chicken stock:
– 4 large chicken thighs, bone in, no skin.
– one peeled red onion cut in half
– 2″ ginger
– 1tsp whole coriander seeds
– 4 tbsp fish sauce
– 2 cloves
– 1 tbsp palm sugar/brown sugar
Boil thighs for 15-20 minutes in a large stock pot (I used my trusty white enamelled Le Creuset pot) and discard this water.
Whilst the thighs are boiling, roast the onion, ginger and coriander seeds in an oven or on a hot cast iron skillet.
Once you have discarded the water and removed the thighs, you need to add fresh water to the pot, add in the thighs again and bring to the boil in 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to right down, introduce the onion, ginger, coriander seeds, fish sauce, sugar, cloves and simmer for 45 minutes.
To make the chilli condiment often served on the side you need:
-2 tbsp fish sauce
-1 tbsp vinegar- I just used malt because it’s darker in colour.
-1 tbsp sugar
-1 finely sliced thai chilli… or a fat green one if you don’t have access to thai chillies at the time.
(- some lemon zest.. this is optional but adds a very nice flavour!)
Mix these together and set aside.. the longer you leave them to soak, the tastier this condiment is! I would do it at the start of cooking…
For the rest of the Pho you need:
– Rice noodles- flat ones
– Fresh basil and coriander
– Fresh spring onions
– de boned chicken from the stock.
– blanch rice noodles about 1/2 a packet for 2 people as they are light. Divide into bowls once they are cooked.
– wash some fresh basil and coriander leaves and set these aside for the garnish.
– Finely slice 2 spring onions and set aside for the garnish.
– have your pickled chillies ready!
– once the stock is ready, de-bone the chicken thighs and place strips on top of the noodles with a little cracked black pepper.
– Ladle on stock and garnish with herbs and chillies.
– Eat with chopsticks and feel the vietnamese luuurve! 🙂