Shortcut pho with chicken
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Jo Elwin/Tamara West
A fragrant bowl of noodles with chicken and herbs – sounds like a great tonic for Monday night
|1 Ltr||Chicken stock, good quality|
|2||Star anise, pods|
|1 slice||Fresh ginger|
|200 g||Dried flat rice noodles|
|3 small||Chicken breasts, boneless|
|1||Onion, white, thinly sliced in rings|
|2||Spring onions, green part only, sliced|
|2 cups||Mung bean sprouts|
- Put the chicken stock in a saucepan with the cinnamon, star anise, ginger, sugar and three cups water. Simmer stock, covered, for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile steam or simmer the chicken breasts in a separate saucepan for 12 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove saucepan from heat.
- Once chicken has been put on to cook, cover the rice noodles with hot water in a large bowl. Drain after 10 minutes. Bring another pan of water to the boil.
- Discard skin from cooked chicken breasts. Slice breasts thinly, crosswise.
- Drop soaked noodles into pan of boiling water and cook for 30 seconds or until floppy. Drain and divide between serving bowls. Arrange sliced onion and spring onion on top of noodles, then add sliced chicken and a pile of mung bean sprouts.
- Ladle stock into bowls, leaving stock flavourings in saucepan. Season each bowl of pho with 2 teaspoons of fish sauce.
- At the table, each person can add chilli, basil, mint and lime juice to taste, as well as more fish sauce as required.
- Proper pho uses stock made from scratch using various bones and meats, but this shortcut method delivers a worthy hit of flavour too. you do your shopping at a Chinese grocer, you will probably find good canned chicken stock on the shelves.
- The more herbs the better, so be generous when buying your greens.
- A beef version is even quicker to make — just thinly slice a 400g piece of beef fillet, then add the slices, still uncooked, to the bowl, on top of the noodles. Ladle hot stock over the beef.