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Monday, August 24, 2009

If Martha made Vietnamese-- Beatrice's Phở Gà

This weekend, we made phở gà. Mmmmmm. A few posts ago, my on-line friend (that's pretty pathetic hu? Maybe I should think about joining a bunko group!) and fellow adoption mama, Michelle, offered to share her recipe for phở gà. Translated it pretty much means chicken noodle soup but of course Vietnamese. And as with all phở, it's largely all about the fresh toppings... basil, mint, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, bean sprouts, lime juice squeezed in! Maybe that's why my kiddos like phở so much, because they get to "assemble" their dinner at the table, and I mean who doesn't like that! As Michelle reminded me, purists say phở is only made with beef, but there are plenty of chicken varieties like hers out there too, but probably not as yummy! Michelle's is from scratch and just as she assured me, it was very easy to make and tasty too ! Everyone loved it! If you want to be daring and try a Vietnamese dish, this is a good one to start with.

And 'cause the the title probably doesn't make sense to anyone, Beatrice is Michelle's daughter. Isn't food more about sharing the flavors and love and passing down part of ourselves to others and most importantly our children? In this case, since Michelle and I both are pasty white mamas and have gorgeous children from VietNam, it's also so much about our children sharing a part of themselves with us. Ironic isn't it. Full circle. Thank you, Beatrice! (Maybe we need a pic of B, Michelle?)

The finished product above

Above-Can't keep Tess's hands out of my soup! Better give her some noodles of her own

That's my 6 year old wielding chopsticks... with SOUP! That's too cool! I couldn't do that till I was 15.
No, 25.
No, 35.
No, I still can't but that doesn't stop me from trying! Did I mention how impressive that is seeing as how you probably couldn't' tell how Caucasian he is? I understand that you may be shocked by this ethnic revelation.

I could just dive into those eyes! Tess loves her rice noodles too! Is it in her genes?

Phở Gà (From Michelle and Beatrice)

1/2 chicken
1 cinnamon stick
Whole anise (16 points-ish)
4 whole cloves
1/2" ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 T fish sauce
2 t sugar
1 t salt
12 c water (enough to cover chicken)
4 scallions cut vertically
Simmer chicken at least 45 min (or hours) in the above. Remove chicken, let cool, and de-bone. Add meat back to pot. Ok, not really! Just get some boneless skinless breasts and/or thighs and use them. De-boning the whole chicken, (although it adds such wonderful flavor and is surely the best way to make phở gà) is time consuming and just plain' ol' oogy! Or if you really want the extra flavor, sweet talk your dear husband into doing it for you. Then add-
2 T fish sauce, 2 t sugar, and 1 t salt

Prepare 1/2 lb of rice noodles according to directions on package.  (rinse in cool water, then soak in hot water a few minutes.  Don't over cook.  Rice noodles cook very quickly compared to Italian wheat noodles.) 

Put 1 serving of noodles and thinly sliced onions (yellow/white) in an individual serving bowl.

Add your favorite toppings including bean sprouts, white pepper, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, lime juice, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, sliced chilies.

The cinnamon stick anise, ginger, and clove, which I resisted for so long, is an absolute requirement and {similar to bay leaves} are not to be served or eaten.   The layers and smells of chicken, cinnamon, anise, and ginger, simmering all together fills the house and makes me appear to be quite a talented chef.  If your the kind of person that's never tried cooking Vietnamese fare but wants to give it a go, find your local Asian market. One stop, and it's all there! If your in my neck of the woods, your choices are Me Kong or Lee Lee's in Mesa and Chandler and will have everything you need, and cheap too. If anyone tries one of the recipes, PLEASE let me know how it went!

Thank you, Michelle! Anyone else have a recipe to try?

1 comment:

  1. Great shot! Glad everyone loved it. You're right about the cinnamon stick. I often use two because, to me, that's the key to creating the smell in the kitchen that creates the anticipation to this new favorite "comfort food" of mine. Fall is coming, and Pho Fridays will once again be underway!
    I'll send a photo to you in an email. Beatrice will be very proud to hear she has a dish in her name! (And to think I just sat in a Barnes & Noble and copied this recipe from a book into my datebook was the only one I'd ever found where I knew what every ingredient was!)


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