06 December, 2012

Food Review: Vietnamese Pho (pronounced "Fa")

I love Pinterest. I love it. I love it. I love it.

Last Friday night when I got off work, my husband and I, along with my daughter, went shopping at a local mall. I was NOT feeling ANY of the food choices in the Food Court. NOTHING sounds good - and I'm usually the one who can find something to eat somewhere. Yeah, not so much....

Luckily they had a great looking little place in there call "Pholicious". I had no idea what that was, but everyone who was eating there seemed to enjoy it. Needless to say, I learned it was some Asian soup that comes in all sorts of varieties that include chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, fish ball, and seafood. I chose shrimp as my meat. They serve it with a small platter that has jalapenos, bean sprouts, onion, cilantro, lime, and a sauce that is a mixture of hoisin and sriracha sauce. It. Was. Amazing.

Given that we don't live in the same town as this mall, coming back for more without some planning wasn't likely to happen. I figured since I was a huge Pinterest fanatic, there was BOUND to be some sort of recipe on there for this. There was. I had no idea how POPULAR this stuff is! I was also excited to learn that it's EASY, EASY, EASY to make!!!

My initial attempt was making a Chicken Pho. Delicious. I was sick at the time, and this was perfect. The spice opened up my sinuses... what a GREAT change from Campbells. However, I was left wanting more four days letter when I was STILL sick. Luckily the hubby made a grocery store run for me and I decided to go with a Vegetable Pho this time.

After looking up the recipes for Vegetable Pho, I noted that they mostly included vegetable stock and tofu. NO THANK YOU. I know a lot of people love it, so if you do, go for it. Tofu just isn't my thing. So, I left it out and stuck with the chicken broth, I just didn't put any actual meat in the soup.

In my opinion, Pho is delicious whatever you decide to put in it. I'm going to include the recipe that I used, I just modified the steps to include what I wanted to put in it.

PLEASE NOTE: I STOLE THE BELOW FROM: Asian Chicken Noodle Soup


Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
serves 6
Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4th tsp salt
6 cups chicken broth
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
3 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 baby bok choy, chopped
5 oz chinese noodles (about half a package)
sriracha sauce for serving (optional)
chopped cilantro for serving (optional)
Directions:
Heat the sesame oil over medium high heat in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add the minced garlic and ginger and briefly saute for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and bok choy, sprinkle with salt, and saute for another three minutes until chicken has turned white but not completely cooked all the way through. (***NOTE: I DID NOT USE THE BOK CHOY IN EITHER OF MY RECIPES, AND IF YOU JUST WANT VEGGIE PHO, COOK THE GINGER AND GARLIC AS DIRECTED, THEN SKIP ADDING CHICKEN AND MOVE ON TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH)
Add the chicken broth, jalapeno and green onions to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes until chicken is done.
Here's my broth for the Veggie Pho... It's delicious and smells WONDERFUL!!!
Meanwhile, cook the noodles in boiling salted water, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. (***NOTE: I USED MAI FUN NOODLES THE FIRST TIME AND DIDN'T CARE FOR THEM, MY HUBBY BOUGHT STIR FRY NOODLES BECAUSE THEY WERE OUT OF EVERYTHING ELSE WHEN WE MADE THE VEGGIE PHO AND I REALLY LIKED THOSE!)
Add the rice vinegar and soy sauce and stir. You can add a little more salt if you like, but taste first because soy sauce already contains a lot of salt! Add the noodles to the pot and serve with chopped cilantro and sriracha sauce on the side.
Time:45 minutes (***NOTE: I SWEAR IT WENT FASTER THAN 45 MINUTES!!!)
I made a Veggie Bar which lets everyone put their own ingredients in. Everything here, except the noodles, is raw, the hot broth will soften everything once you put it in the bowl. Shown here: Salt and pepper, Srirachi sauce, bella mushrooms, jalapenos, lime wedges, broccoli, onions, bean sprouts and the noodles. 

My bowl..... Pure Heaven! Put noodles on the bottom, add your veggies if you want them, then add the broth - which if you've chosen an option with meat, it will contain the meat. Let sit for just a moment to soften your veggies. 
Also, I noticed that Pholiscious gave us a small cup with what I'm sure was a mix of the srirachi sauce, as well as some hoisin sauce. So, you can add a dash of that too. It's not included on the ingredient list for the recipe I used here, so I thought I would throw that in. 
As for veggies, the possibilities are endless. I would recommend that you try several different things. I really think this soup has some real flexibility with it. 
I really want to thank the people over at www.eatliverun.com for posting this recipe. It will probably be my GO TO when I'm sick when I want a change from my mama's special potato soup that I usually make!
Get cooking! Leave comments and let me know if you liked it, what you changed up, etc!
Xoxoxoxo,
Red

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