Cookbook author Kristine Kidd shares her homemade Vietnamese Chicken Pho recipe.
Tonight we celebrate my cousin Noah’s birthday at the beach. Our chef for the evening is our cousin Kristine Kidd. Because we all went to Southeast Asia together last December, Noah requests Pho for his birthday dinner. It’s a warm and comforting, yet totally light Vietnamese Noodle Soup that you can eat as supper, but also as breakfast. Because Kristine used to be the food editor for Bon Appetit magazine. Obviously, we are in outrageously capable hands! Here is her step-by-step recipe for Chicken Pho.
First, in a large pot, combine 2 quarts Organic Chicken Broth with 2 cups of water. You can certainly use homemade broth, but Kristine uses Swanson Chicken Broth since it’s a million times easier.
While that heats up, place onions and ginger directly over a high flame. Then, char them on all sides, using a pair of tongs to turn them. This will probably take a few minutes on each side.
Next, soak two packages of dried rice noodles in hot water (tap is fine),
Toast up some star anise. These are from a market in Vietnam.
Put the spices in a tea strainer, with 1 teaspoon black peppercorns. Add to the chicken broth, along with 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 tablespoon sugar. You can also add salt to taste, if you’re using a low-sodium broth.
Vegetarians, replace the chicken with vegetable stock. Plus leave out the fish sauce, because it’s made of fish! That’s what Abe did, which you can see in the neighboring saucepan next to the big pot.
After you char the onions and ginger, remove their skins. Then chop them into large chunks and add them to the stock.
Drop in four chicken breasts.
While those cook, put another large pot of water on the stove for the noodles and start prepping the garnishes. Here’s some chili, which I’m sure my Uncle Robert will not add to his bowl, since he notoriously dislikes any heat whatsoever..
Kristine also chops up some fresh scallions and cilantro. Next, she sets out some fresh bean sprouts, basil, and mint. Since we are not in Vietnam, it’s regular Italian basil. Next, the birthday boy gets a knife sharpening lesson while we wait for the chicken to finish cooking.
When it is done, the meat comes out and sits in the fridge for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut. Now Bok Choy is washed and cut. Then it joins the pot…
…and the onions/ginger leave the pot with a slotted spoon.
Now drain the noodles from their soaking liquid, and add them to the boiling water.
And slice the chicken, now firm from its vacation in the fridge.
The noodles cook for a few minutes before tasting and draining.
Finally, we are done. Pho time! It’s an unusually foggy and cool night outside on the beach, making it perfect weather for a hot meal on an August evening. Now, Kristine assembles the base, which is noodles, broth, chicken slices, cilantro, and scallions. We add our own toppings – which includes the fresh herbs and lime, Sriracha, and Hoisin Sauce.
I have two bowls that look like this. It’s super spicy and yummy.
We gather to watch the video of our Southeast Asia trip, EAT PRAY EAT. Seems like it was just yesterday we were in Vietnam eating pho! It’s not exactly the same, but it’s still a really fun trip down memory lane. Maybe we will go back one day and I can blog about it.
Of course no birthday is complete without candles! This is a Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake from Coldstone Creamery, and you have to let it thaw a little before cutting.
I almost finish this entire slice. It is probably the opposite of the pho we just ate, since it’s rich, cold, and creamy.
Happy birthday to Noah and happy Saturday to all of you!