While the weather here in southern California continues to rise and rise, I find myself trying to hold onto the last bit of cold (“cold”) weather that we have. I love those chilly mornings where I can snuggle up with a blanket and enjoy breakfast in the morning light, and late night fires with movies playing in the background, and warm coats and boots. I know this sounds pathetic coming from someone who pretty much lives in summer year round, but hey! Anything below 60 is enough to grab a scarf around here. I always feel really guilty saying I’m cold when in reality, my east coast friends and family deal with bitterly cold weather, but at least I can say I survived an east coast winter! (Hence why I’m back home in California..)
Even if it’s not technically cold here, we can still make soup right? Right. My favorite soup that I have recently been turned on to by my dad, aka foodie, aka yelp obsessor, aka wonderful cook, is vietnamese pho! I love the rich broth that ties together the simple rice noodles with all the wonderful toppings. It really is an experience to order this in a restaurant and have them bring all the different plates filled with bean sprouts, thai basil, jalepenos, and lime wedges, but I feel like it’s a pretty simple thing that can be made at home, too! I was completely blown away by my first pho experience and I hope you will be too!
^^Goofy candid picture from my phirst (wait, I literally just spelled first, phirst.) pho in beverly hills at 9021pho. Highly recommend it! And the veggie spring rolls too 😉
This can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock and substituting tofu or other vegetables for the chicken. Also, I like to make my own chicken stock, but if you don’t have the time, store bought will do just fine. Just make sure you buy chicken stock and not broth.
9-10 cups prepared or store bought chicken broth
6 cups water
bone in chicken breasts with skin on (I used about 3)
2 sweet onions
2 inch chunk fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use tamari because it’s gluten free)
2 teaspoons sriracha- optional
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 small dashes worcestershire sauce
2 squirts of chili oil, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
thinly sliced white onion
thai basil- this can be hard to find, I like to use cilantro instead even though its not traditional
additional sriracha for the brave at heart
Bring chicken stock and water to a simmer in a heavy bottomed pot. Once simmering, add the raw chicken breasts and allow to cook for about 10 minutes or until done. On a sheet pan, place the sweet onion (washed and halved) and chunk of ginger and put in the oven with the broiler set on high for 5-7 minutes or until nicely charred. This is going to add a ton of flavor to the broth. When cooled, remove the dark pieces and discard, leaving only the white onion and ginger.
^after charing. Just remove the skins and you’re good to go.
When chicken is done, remove from pot and carefully strain the stock to remove any impurities and chicken pieces. When chicken is cooled, thinly slice and set in the fridge for later use. Place stock back in the pot and add onions, ginger, peeled garlic cloves, soy sauce, sriracha, fish sauce, worcestershire, chili oil (optional), and Chinese 5 spice. Stir it around to combine. Bring back to a simmer for 1 hour. In the meantime, you can prepare the rice noodles according to package directions and prepare your toppings.
After an hour, remove onion, ginger, and garlic, and add the sliced chicken breast back into the pot. To serve, place cooked rice noodles in the bottom of the bowl, then add the broth and chicken, and top with whatever you please!
*note: if you use the full amounts of the sriracha and chili oil, it is going to be spicy!! My family loves it like this, but if yours doesn’t, leave out these ingredients and wait until the end to add spice to your own liking. Store leftovers (if there are any) in the fridge in an airtight container.