Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nater's Faux Pho Recipe

This is my healthy recipe for Pho, a Vietnamese dish, pronounced "Fuh" ... ya know, like when your headphones are in at the gym and someone sneaks up and scares you and you scream "FU...!!"  Realizing where you are before you finish your near profanity.  WHAT THE PHO?!  The Faux part is of recipe is not because of lack of cultural authenticity, but rather due in part to my blonde hair and blue eyes... I'm obviously not Vietnamese, but still can make some mean pho!  There are many recipes out there, but this is my personal spin on the dish.

This is a super simple recipe, rounding up the ingredients is the only real effort involved.  Don't let the list of ingredients intimidate you, you will have a lot already in your cupboard and I grabbed everything else at Harmon's in less than 10 minutes.  Every time I cook I am either cooking so that I can eat the meal a few days, or am cooking for friends and family.  As long as I'm going to the effort, might as well make it worth my while.

Here what you'll need if ya wanna play:

4 Large Chicken Breasts
4 Cans of Low Sodium Chicken Broth (14oz)
3 Cups Bean Sprouts
2 Garlic Cloves
3 oz of Fresh Ginger Root, size of two fingers roughly
1 Lime
1 Sweet Onion (Yellow)
2 Jalapenos
Small bundle of Green Onion
Small bundle of fresh Mint
Small bundle of fresh Basil
1/8 Cup Sriracha (Hot Chili Sauce)
1/4 Cup low sodium Soy Sauce
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tbs Granulated Sugar
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 package of Rice Noodles

The first step is to cook the chicken.  I buy huge bags of frozen Costco chicken as a staple, so the lazy way is to throw the four large frozen chicken breasts into a crock pot with one can of broth and one can of water.  Slow cooking them lets you shred the chicken much easier.  If not you can boil the chicken and cut it up after it is fully cooked, but I recommend the crotch pot... I mean crock.

Once the chicken is cooked in the crock pot, pull out the chicken to cool.  Keep the liquid, strain it, and add it to a large pot.  Then in the large pot add the other three cans of broth with one more can full of water.  Then turn to high heat and boil the hell out of it.  

Start another pot of boiling water for the rice noodles.  

While the broth is reaching boil chop the yellow onion in half, laying the center down and then cut long ways.  Throw em in the pot!  Then chop the two jalapenos so you have round nickel size pieces.  Throw em in the pot!  Smash and mince the two garlic gloves, and cut the skin off the ginger root, smash and mince as well.  Throw em in the pot!  Chop the green onion bundle, and all the basil leaves and most the mint leaves.  Throw em in the pot!  Rinse the bean sprouts.  Throw em in the pot!  Juice one lime, measure out 1/8 cup of sriracha, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1tps ground cloves, 1 tbs sugar, and a pinch of pepper.  Throw it in the pot!  Let the concoction boil for a few minutes and then take to low heat to simmer for about fifteen minutes.  Shred the chicken, (two furious forks usually do the trick for me) and add it in.  What the pho?!  You're almost there.

While the brew simmers, add the rice noodles to boiling water and let cook for 8-10 minutes.  Keep gently stirring the noodles, as well as the pot of pho.  After ten minutes take the rice noodles off the heat, strain, and stop the cooking process with running cold water over them in the strainer.  

The pho brew should be smelling pretty awesome, and cooked down a little bit by now.  You can at this point add the noodles to the pho, but I strongly recommend adding them to your bowl separately.  I fill the bowl about 1/3 the way with the rice noodles, and then ladle the piping hot pho over them.  You can garnish with a sprig of the mint or basil, and serve with extra sriracha on the side... because as Marilyn once stated - 'Some like it HOT!'

This recipe is healthy as it it largely based around protein and vegetables, as long as you go with low sodium soy sauce and chicken broth and don't go crazy on the rice noodles you will will be on track!  Enjoy.


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