soups

pho

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

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):

cilantro

mint

thai basil

scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise

sliced jalapeno

bean sprouts

limes, quartered

sriracha

hoisin sauce

sambal oelek

1 lb cooked Asian-style noodles

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

Over an open flame on your stove top (or use your broiler), char the onion and ginger well.

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

In a small frying pan, toast the spices until they are fragrant.

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

Place the spices, onions, ginger and carrots in a large pot and pour the broth over everything.

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

While the broth is simmering, cook your noodles and prepare the garnish items.

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

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.

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho

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.

fast-faux-pho

fast-faux-pho