Traditional Pho is made with beef knuckle and oxtail, but we don’t eat beef, so I’ve adapted, using the dark meat of chicken instead. Making the broth is labor of love. Since the stock simmers on the stove untended, it’s also an opportunity to turn one’s attention to other (lazy weekend afternoon) things. Pho isn’t usually served with mint, but it’s a traditional Thai flavoring, and growing like crazy in the garden, so why not? I love having a reason to purchase Anise Stars in the bulk spice section of the market and using them in a spice sachet to season the soup stock.
PHO SOUP WITH CHICKEN – Serves 4-6
2 chicken legs, bone in
2 chicken thighs, bone in
2 chicken wings
1 medium white radish (daikon) sliced into 1/8″ disks
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into 1/16″ thick half-rounds
1 ounce anise pods
1/2 cinnamon stick (about 3″)
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 pound dried flat brown rice noodles (white will do)
Siracha Pepper Sauce
Hoisin Sauce (recipe to follow)
1/2 cup picked cilantro leaves
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 cup crispy fresh bean sprouts (or fresh pea shoots)
1/2 cup packed Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
wedges of fresh organic lime
1. In a large pot bring 8 cups of water to boil. Add the chicken legs, thighs,and wings. (If you’ve deboned a whole chicken, add the back and reserve the breasts for another preparation.) Cook covered for two hours.
2. Add the daikon and onions, honey, salt, and fish sauce. Put the anise stars, cinnamon stick, ginger, and pepper corns in a cloth spice bag and add to the stock. Cook over a low heat for at least another four hours. (Whilst you watch some Wimbledon Tennis, garden, or catch up on….)
3. At the end of the cooking time, taste the broth and season with salt if necessary. Strain and return the broth to the pot, cover, and simmer on a low heat. When cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the chicken bones. Discard the bones and spices.
4. Soak the rice noodles in cold water for 20 minutes. While the noodles are soaking bring a pot of water to boil in which to cook them for 4-5 minutes, or until they are just tender all the way through.
5. Evenly distribute the noodles and chicken meat between the bowls. Top with the broth leaving room for the garnishes.
HOMEMADE HOISIN STYLE SAUCE
6 pitted dates
1/4 cup tahini
1 clove of garlic minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon gluten free Tamari (GF soy sauce)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Tamarind paste
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup water, perhaps even a little more depending on the consistency you prefer
1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to blend.
2. With the machine running, slowly add the water, scraping down as needed until the mixture forms a paste and is the consistency you prefer. Store any extra in the refrigerator.