Pho is a very popular Vietnamese dish. I was a little bit afraid of it the first time I had it because it's usually served with raw beef that's so thinly sliced that when it's put into the broth, it's cooked immediately. I've also tried seafood pho which has cooked seafood in it. After that first time, I've been addicted to it. Now that fall is upon us, I had some leftover chicken stock from making Chicken and Dumplings (another "Something Different" dish that could be considered. I'll post that recipe next time) so I decided to give Pho a shot. I put a palm sized toss of coriander into a warm pan along with 4 whole cloves and two star anise. After just a couple minutes, I added the spices to the chicken stock. I also added a finger long piece of ginger that I roughly chopped up. I made the chicken stock by boiling a chicken carcass along with onions, carrots and celery. I'd roasted the chicken the night before so I had the meat set aside while I boiled the bones to give the best flavor. I strained the stock to remove the bones, veggies and spices and returned the broth back to the stove. I added in shredded chicken and let it sit on the hot burner but had it turned off. I sliced a single mushroom and put one each into the two bowls. I diced a spring onion and split it between the bowls. I brought a pot of water to a boil and added half of a package of thin, rice noodles. While the water was coming to a boil, I chopped some cilantro and a green chili. I placed them in tiny serving bowls. I removed the pot from the burner and stirred the noodles. The water turned milky colored and I knew that since they were so thin, it wouldn't take long to cook them. I strained them and then divided them among the two bowls. I topped the noodles, mushrooms and onions with the chicken and pho stock. I served with the chopped cilantro and peppers on the side. It was awesome. Now I've had beef, seafood and chicken pho. If I had to change one thing, I'd serve with Thai basil rather than the cilantro. I like the anise (licoricey) taste of the basil over the cilantro. The cilantro was good but I think the basil would've been better.
It's really a simple dish to make but so elegantly different. It's so filling and I think the spices make me feel great - almost energized. Give it a try. It's really bold and will give your house such a nice, fragrant smell.