We recently had a brush with the flu in our house and I kind of think that this helped stave off anything too major. My fingers are still crossed but I felt it my absolute public duty to pass this on ASAP. There is such a great combination of heath-boosting elements in this meal that you can't help but feel better. Even if your biggest malady right now is that your right arm hurts from swiping your credit card just one too many times.
This is ALL about the broth. The char on the onions and ginger combined with the aromatic spices (cinnamon, cardamom, star anise) make for one soothing bowl of deliciousness. Serve it along side a plate of various flavor elements so everyone can make it their own. Add some heat, bright floral herbiness, maybe some crunchy bean sprouts, all on top of the slurpy noodles. It's kind of the perfect meal.
I happened to be at my favorite Asian grocer just as they were receiving a delivery of fresh noodles so that's what I used. Traditionally, you would use rice noodles. I had just made some chicken broth so, naturally, that was what I went with. Beef or vegetable would be equally good with no loss in the depth of flavor or richness.
fast faux pho
8 cups of broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 3-4" piece of ginger, peeled
4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped into large pieces
1 cinnamon stick
1 t coriander seeds
1-2 pieces of start anise
1-2 cardamom pods
1 long pepper (adds a hint of sweetness and underscored the cardamom)
1-2 cups of cooked protein, sliced (chicken, beef, seitan, etc) *optional
1 cup of enoki mushrooms or any sliced mushrooms
1 cup thinly sliced napa cabage
soy sauce to taste
for garnish/add ins (all optional):
scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 lb cooked Asian-style noodles
Over an open flame on your stove top (or use your broiler), char the onion and ginger well.
In a small frying pan, toast the spices until they are fragrant.
Place the spices, onions, ginger and carrots in a large pot and pour the broth over everything.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, cook your noodles and prepare the garnish items.
After 30 minutes, strain the broth and return to the pot. Add in the mushrooms and cabbage and cook over medium heat until the vegetable soften.
Add the cooked protein and soy sauce to taste. Let cook for 5 or so minutes for everything to heat through and the flavors come together.
To serve, place a portion of noodles in a bowl and top with the hot broth. Add some herbs, maybe a little chili, some bean spouts and feel better.