Quick Chicken Pho
This pho is ready in under 45 minutes, during which you’ll doctor a store-bought broth. Swanson brand is less fussed up than other broths and easy to manipulate. Stocked at many supermarkets, Annie Chun pad Thai rice noodles and Megachef fish sauce also work well here. The optional and delicious ginger sauce is for dipping the chicken into between spoonfuls of soup.
- For the Pho:
- 1 (3/4-inch) piece ginger, peeled
- 2 large scallions
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 whole clove
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 ounces dried, narrow flat rice noodles
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- For the Ginger Dipping Sauce (optional):
- 1 packed tablespoon peeled and finely chopped ginger
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon seededand finely chopped jalapeño
- To Garnish:
- Bean sprouts
- Thai basil
- Lime wedges
- Sliced chili, such as Fresno, Thai, serrano or jalapeño
Adapted from wsj.com
Slice ginger into 4-5 rounds. Smack ginger with a mallet or flat side of a knife to bruise. Thinly slice green parts of scallions to yield 3 tablespoons and set aside for garnish. Cut remaining parts of scallions into pinkie-size lengths, then smack to bruise. Chop leafy tops of cilantro to yield 2 tablespoons, and set aside for garnish.
In a 3- to 4-quart pot over medium heat, toast coriander seeds and cloves until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add ginger and scallion strips to pot. Stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove pot from heat, wait 15 seconds or so to briefly cool, then pour in broth.
Return pot to heat and add water, remaining cilantro, chicken and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat to medium-low and gently simmer until chicken is cooked through, yielding only slightly when pressed, 5-10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl, flush with cold water to stop cooking, then drain. Let cool, then cut or shred into bite-size pieces. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Meanwhile, continue simmering broth until reduced by about one-third, 20-25 minutes.
While liquid simmers, soak noodles in a bowl of hot water until pliable and opaque, about 15 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
Make Ginger Sauce (optional):
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Rest 15 minutes before serving.
Once broth is done simmering, place a fine-mesh sieve over a 2-quart pot. Strain broth and discard solids. (You should have about 4 cups broth.) Season with sugar.
Bring broth to a boil over high heat. Put noodles in a strainer or sieve and dunk into hot broth to warm and soften, about 1 minute. Remove noodles from pot and divide between 2 bowls.
Divide chicken and place on top of noodles. Garnish with chopped scallions, cilantro and pepper. Adjust broth seasoning to taste. Return broth to a boil, then ladle into bowls. Enjoy with any or all of the following garnishes: bean sprouts, mint, Thai basil, lime wedges and sliced chili. Serve with individual bowls of ginger sauce for dipping chicken, if desired.