Yesterday was Yoga Day (or Yogurt Day as Kevin likes to say) and so Kevin was in charge of dinner preparations. I love love LOVE a man who can cook. And my man, he cooks!
It was very nice to come home from yoga and sit down to a lovely steamy bowl of Chicken Pho. Buuuut I have a few critiques – not complaints. I would never complain about someone else cooking me dinner – and he even helped with clean up. I LOVE that man!
So I would like to share a few strategies that may help us (for our next at home pho experience. Kevin and I agree there WILL be a next time!) and others out there in blogosphere land who may be interested in making this recipe. Just a quick reminder I’m talking about the Quick Chicken Pho found in the February Cooking Light Magazine.
First of all the recipe serves 2 – for breakfast. The nutritional information says that 1 serving is 360 calories. Which would be about right for brekkie. But if you’re making this dish to serve as a family dinner you may find that you need to scale it up to 6 or even 8 servings. Meaning triple or quadruple the ingredients! Plan accordingly!
Also – even if you do scale it up to a dinner size portion, you may find this still to be a very light meal. A nice accompaniment to Pho is Summer Rolls. When we go to Vietnamese restaurants we usually order a couple summer rolls with peanut dipping sauce to enjoy before our soup course. Stupid Easy Paleo has a recipe for Spring Rolls (you say Spring Roll, I say Summer Roll…in my mind this recipe is summer rolls since the outer wrap isn’t crispy, but call it what you like, they still look pretty tasty!)
My second tip is about making this dish paleo. It’s pretty easy. Just don’t use the rice noodles. Last night, I asked Kevin to spiralize me a zucchini and that made lovely noodles! A white sweet potato would also have been lovely – and would have added just the right amount of carb-i-ness. Speaking of spiralizers – I happen to like the toao spiralizer. It has an adjustable blade that has four width settings, and has a catch bowl. Kevin used the smallest setting on my zucchini last night. I think the second setting would have been a bit better (setting 2 is about the same width as the rice noodles), but since I didn’t have to cook, I’m not complaining!
My third suggestion is actually a critique – not a complaint! I CAN NOT complain – he cooked. I just ate! It was heaven! We had quite a bit of leftover roasted chicken from earlier in the week and decided to use that instead of the raw chicken breast called for in the recipe. If you follow the instructions in the recipe the whole raw chicken breasts are cooked first in the flavorful broth. Once cooked the chicken is removed to be shredded and the broth is strained. This straining step is essential! Unfortunately Kevin added the already cooked shredded chicken to the broth while it was being boiled hoping to get some of the lovely flavors into the chicken. Alas, the chicken ended up slightly over cooked, and it was impossible to separate it from the aromatics that needed to be discarded. The ginger coins, coriander seeds, cloves and slightly gray cilantro stalks were present in our bowls as we were dishing up. It made the soup slightly difficult to eat (especially for Ella who was finding it hard to remove the coriander seeds). However the flavors were spot on!
So if you’re like us and making this dish using leftover chicken, just boil the broth with the aromatics but not the chicken, then be sure to strain, then add in your lovely shredded chicken, noodles, zoodles or sweet potato ribbons, and simmer just long enough to take the chill off the chicken and soften the noodles or cook the potatoes. Then you can decorate with all the traditional Pho toppings – mung bean sprouts, thinly sliced chilies, thai basil, lime wedges, sliced onions, sriracha. We didn’t have sprouts, chilies, basil or limes and I thought it was a little flat – and we missed out on the fun decoration step of eating Pho. Next time…and there WILL be a next time!