Before I begin today’s episode of “throwing stuff in a pan” I would like to clear something up.
It’s pronounced “fuh” not like “faux”. I didn’t make that happen, it’s just how it’s pronounced.
Obviously, I understand that when you tell people you’ve made a “fuh”, they look at you as though you are just making up euphemistic swear words or you were just about to finish an actual word but, for some reason, you stopped yourself.
So when you tell them, stare them dead in the eyes and really enunciate the “fuh” so they understand, or back away slowly. Because that just means that you won the conversation.
Anywhoo… A Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup which is normally made with beef, but I found a massive pack of chicken drumsticks in my freezer and thought “what the hell”. Technically, this is a Pho Ga (due to the chicken). If you use beef, it’s a Pho Bo. Just a little education for you there. You’re welcome.
This recipe is really, really easy. The ingredients are easy to find and prep takes about 15 minutes. There’s no preamble, it’s just a case of chop, crush, slice, pour, cook.
I’m assuming you have a slow cooker for this one. If not, why the hell not? Do you know what you can do with a slow cooker? No? Oh, sorry. I’ll throw in a few more recipes using one, because they’re incredibly useful.
Back to what exactly a Pho is.
As I said up there, it’s a Vietnamese dish which comprises of a flavoursome stock, big ole’ hunks of meat, loads of fresh vegetables and a great load of herbs and spices. You put them all together, cook it for ages and then spoon it over rice noodles.
It’s a really clean tasting dish and I’m pretty sure it would be incredible for a hangover. It’s got enough body to it to fill you up and the broth, with its soy sauce, ginger and whatnot; it would also be a great way to balance those pesky electrolytes (I think you want to be doing this) while settling your stomach. I have no practical experience to back this claim up as I made the dish on a Tuesday and I’m obviously not going to get hammered in the middle of the week to provide a little verisimilitude to a food blog. Just trust me.
Chicken legs, or beef (depending on Ga or Bo. Just make sure you’ve got the bones because they’re your passport to flavour country)
Spring onions (just the white bit, chopped into chunks about half a centimetre long)
Half a red onion (threw this in the blender because even with a simple dish, I will find a shortcut)
Celery (Usually, you would put in bean sprouts but I didn’t have any beansprouts. I did have a load of celery, so voila!)
Garlic (crushed and lightly chopped)
Fresh coriander, stalks and leaves (as much as you want, really. I love the stuff so I just went to town on this dish)
Fresh mint, just the leaves (same as above)
Red Bird’s Eye chilli (yeah, this is the same as above too. If this is going to be your hangover cure, take it easy on the chilli. Don’t add insult to injury)
Star anise (you can find this everywhere, just ask)
Cloves (2-3, you’re making a Pho, not trying to smell like Christmas)
Stick of cinnamon
Fresh ginger (sliced, but not into tiny pieces. You want the flavour to get into the broth, but you also want a sense of danger with every mouthful. Is this bit a massive piece of ginger? Who knows! Chew on it and find out!)
Fish sauce (put a few splashes in to begin with, don’t go insane. As my mother says “when adding ingredients, start with a little bit and then taste it. Remember, you can always add more seasoning, but you can’t take it out”. She’s so wise. I should call her more. If you’re reading this mother, hello. I am well)
Soy sauce (again, don’t go crazy, throwing it around like you’re trying to put out a fire in a really aromatic way. This is meant to be a light broth, not taste like sea water)
Lime zest (grate a lime, it’s easy)
Lime juice (the lime you just zested, cut in half, squeeze)
Thai basil (if you haven’t got any, go to any Oriental supermarket and ask. If you’re in or around Scunthorpe, go to Tradewinds. They have all the stuff you need and the lady behind the counter is incredibly helpful)
More mint leaves(optional)
More lime juice (optional)
Hot sauce(optional, if you’re a pansy)
- Chop the onions and garlic, throw it in the slow cooker
- Crack the bones a little, if you’re using chicken. If using beef bones, good luck with that. Just throw them in
- Chop the celery and throw it in
- The latter half of all these instructions are going to be “and throw it in” so just assume that from here on out
- Chop and bruise the coriander and mint and Thai basil
- Roughly chop the chilli
- Grate the lime zest into the lot of it
- Squeeze the lime in
- Chuck in the star anise, cinnamon and cloves
- Give it a big old stir
- Pour over some water. Not loads, just so it’s all covered
- Splash over your fish sauce and soy sauce
- Give it another stir
- Put it on a low heat for at least 6 hours, but you can’t really overcook this. Especially in a slow cooker
- After about 6 hours, give it a taste. Add whatever is necessary and give it another hour or so
- When it’s cooked, serve it over noodles* and garnish with a little extra if needs be
*If you’re taking this into work or heating it up later, don’t cook the noodles beforehand, they’ll just go mushy and awful. When you’re putting it into your lunch box, just put uncooked noodles in and spoon it on top. When you microwave it, the noodles will cook
Good luck with it all, but I honestly can’t see how you can go wrong…