Sunday, May 08, 2016

An attempt at something vaguely resembling Pho

This morning's experiment turned out as a good light lunch for a hot sunny day.

In the meat box delivery this week were a pair of chicken legs and a pair of gammon steaks, so I decided to make a chicken and ham pie. Having roasted the chicken legs, and cut up and cooked the gammon ready for the pie, I had sufficient chicken bones, skin, cartilege and gammon rinds to make a small batch of stock.

I threw it all in the pressure cooker along with a quartered onion, a sliced carrot, a couple of bay leaves, 4 peppercorns and a tsp or two of celery seed in the usual way. Pouring over a litre and a half of water, I brought it to high pressure and let it cook for an hour or so whilst wandering off to decide on what sort of soup to make for lunch.

I ended up looking at some Vietnamese Pho recipes. This is normally made with beef stock, but hey, chicken and gammon stock is what was in the pot.

The packet of Thai rice noodles in the cupboard looked close enough. Plenty of fresh herbs in the garden for the garnish. Just needed some spices to have gone in with the stock...

So, a quick cooldown of the pressure cooker under the cold tap later, I added:
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 green cardamon, crushed to split the pods open
  • 2 black cardamon, crushed to split the pods open
  • 3 star anise
  • a couple of inches of cassia bark
  • a tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • a tsp of fennel seeds
  • an inch or so of fresh root ginger, sliced
Got it back up to high pressure and gave it another half hour whilst I rounded up and prepped everything else.
  • The rice noodles simply went in a bowl, pour over boiling water to cover and leave for 4 minutes before draining and dividing between the serving bowls.
  • A bundle of coriander leaves and chives and a sprig of fennel leaves, all roughly chopped together and divided between the serving bowls.
  • A small onion, peeled and thinly sliced, and divided between the serving bowls.
By this point, the pressure cooking time was up, so back under the cold tap with it for another quick cooldown.
I strained the soup through a plastic sieve into a large bowl, then added to taste:
  • a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce
  • a dash or two of light soy sauce
  • a dash or two of bottled lime juice
Pouring the soup over the noodles and herbs in the bowls, and it was ready to serve.

Not having actually ever eaten the real thing, I have no idea how close I got to the right flavour, but my daughter said she had had pho at a Vietnamese restaurant with her Dad once, and it tasted pretty close.

She then drowned it in sriracha sauce.

Categories: Vietnamese  Soup