Before we get to the pho, some exciting news. On Sunday November 17th we are doing another pop up night at Congregation Ezras Israel. Last time we did a pop up night it was sold out, so make sure and get your reservations in ASAP. The menu this time is Vietnamese (hence the pho recipe, which will also be served at the pop up). I love the super bright flavors used in Vietnamese cooking. Your taste buds will be rocked by anise, lemongrass and ginger. See below for the full details. Make sure you register for the event before registration closes this Sunday, November 10th!
Pho, pronounced fuh, is a Vietnamese street food staple soup that is influenced by Chinese immigrants and French settlers and was later made popular across the world after the Vietnam war by refugees. It is usually made with boiling beef stock poured over thinly sliced raw beef. If you go that route, make sure to slice the beef super thin (partially freezing it first helps) and make sure the stock is boiling so the beef cooks., You can make pho with chicken as in this recipe, pork, or even vegetables. If you make a version with chicken (or pork for our non-kosher friends) I recommend precooking the protein. Unlike beef, you never want to serve rare chicken or pork.
What makes pho different than your Bubby’s chicken soup? It is seasoned with aggressive spices such as ginger, clove, and star anise. Pho is almost always served with rice noodles, and usually comes with a series of accompaniments such as chilies, cilantro, Thai basil, lime, bean sprouts, and scallions. I recommend just giving everyone a bowl with only broth and noodles and putting all the extras on a big platter in the middle of the table so your guests can choose what they want. I think people enjoy what I like to call “interactive eating”. Who says you can’t play with your food??
CHICKEN PHO RECIPE
A little Jewish penicillin with some Asian flare
- 1/2 Gallon Chicken Stock See recipe for chicken soup below or use store bought in a pinch
- 6 Cloves Garlic Peeled and smashed
- 1 Large Onion Peeled and quartered
- 2 inch Piece of Fresh Ginger Peeled
- 2 Sticks Cinnamon
- 3 Star Anise Pods
- 6 Cloves Cloves
- 1 tbsp (Vegan) Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce See my recipe for vegan fish sauce below
- Rice Noodles Cooked per the directions on the package
- Fresh Chili Peppers Sliced thinly on a bias
- Scallions Sliced thinly on a bias
- Cilantro Stems removed
- Lime Cut into wedges
- Thai Basil Stems removed
- Bean Sprouts
- Shredded Roast Chicken This is a great way to use up leftovers or you can you use grocery store rotisserie chicken in a pinch.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the garlic, onion, and ginger on the sheet pan. Roast until the aromatics begin to brown.
Add the roasted aromatics, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, and chicken stock to a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes and strain out the solids.
Add the noodles to the bowl and cover with the broth. Top with your favorite add ins and squeeze in some lime juice for some brightness.
A classic kosher comfort dish. It's good for what ails you, they don't call it Jewish penicillin for nothing. I don't like anything too fancy in my chicken soup so I stay away from things like zucchini and tomatoes, but if you like them feel free to add them, it won't hurt anything.
One final note, your soup will never taste as good as your mother's for 2 reasons:
1. Memories are a strong force
2. She probably added some soup mix with MSG to give it that little something extra.
- 4 Medium Carrots Peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
- 4 Ribs Celery Rinsed, tops and bottoms cut off and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 Large Sweet Potato Peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 Turnip Peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 Parsnip Peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
- 1 Onion Peeled and roughly chopped
- Salt To taste
- Pepper To taste
- 1 Handful Dill
- 1 Handful Parsley
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 4 Chicken Leg Quarters Remove and save the fat and skin to make schmaltz
Put all the ingredients in your largest pot and fill with enough water to cover everything, making sure not to fill too high in order to prevent it from boiling over.
Cover the pot and put over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the soup is at a boil remove the lid and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Let the soup simmer for about four hours or until the soup reduces by about 15%.
Remove chicken from the bones, adding the chicken back in to the soup and discarding the bones. Serve within a week or freeze for up to six months.
Fish sauce is a sauce used to add a little funk to a dish. Fish sauce is usually made by fermenting small fish such as anchovies in salt and then pressing out the liquid from it. While kosher fish sauce is available, I chose to make my own vegan fish sauce as many people who eat strictly kosher do not mix fish with meat or fowl. To create the requisite funk I used a quartet of fermented products, some of which can be hard to find. For that reason, even though I usually shy away from recommending specific brands, I make an exception here. I ended up buying much of what I needed at Whole Foods, but most they can of course be found on Amazon.com.
- 1 tbsp Red Miso
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 1/2 cup Rice Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Umeboshi Plum Paste
Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until all the solids are dissolved.
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Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s pop up preview recipe: Vietnamese Coconut Lime Rice Pudding with Mango (Xôi xoài)