Me and Pho go back a bit, the first time that I had it was on a glorious day spent in my beloved Brighton. You can read about our spoon silliness here if you want. The second time, well the second time I ordered Pho, it was a complete and utter disaster.
After that experience Pho (the soup) was firmly forgotten, it was only this Summer what with the heat being so unbearable that I started to come up with easy meals that didn't require much time in the kitchen. Pho was revisited but in my stylee and definitely no gluten.
This is a really adaptable recipe that takes about 10 - 15 minutes of prep and then an hour of so of unattended cooking. To serve two people as a main.
1 Scotch Bonnet Chilli
2 Large Spring Onions
6 Tablespoons Squid Brand Fish Sauce (or other gluten free brand)
1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Juice of 2 Limes
1 Lemongrass Stalk
1 Clove of Garlic
2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots (or other gluten free chicken stock)
1 Tablespoon Peanut or Groundnut Oil
100g Rice Noodles (we use a brand called Thai Taste from Tesco)
180g Bean Sprouts
1 Chicken Breast
10 King Prawns
|Most Of The Ingredients|
- Cut the fuzzy tops off of the spring onions and remove the outer layer, cut into batons then into thin strips
- Remove the stalk from the chilli cut in half, de-seed and slice into strips
- Cut the top off the thick end of the lemongrass and any dried out portion of the other end, cut into batons then strips
- Peel the garlic
- Juice the limes
|Check Out My Hi-Tech Juicer|
- Crush the coriander seeds (we use a pestle and mortar, I say we, it's usually The Glutenite)
|The Glutenite's Hand Not Pictured|
- Heat the oil on high in a suitably sized saucepan
- Put the spring onions, lemongrass, chilli into the pan and add the ground ginger and crushed coriander seeds
- Mince the garlic directly into the pan
- Fry for a couple of minutes stirring every so often until you can smell all the flavours (or until the chilli has permeated into the back of your throat and you can't talk when your mum calls)
- Add the water, stock pots, lime juice and fish sauce, stir
- Bring to the boil then lower the heat to a slow simmer and cover
- Simmer for 40 minutes then add the bean sprouts, cover
- Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for 8 minutes (the packaging usually says 10 or more but they get too soft for this in that duration)
- Drain and rinse the rice noodles under cold water, drain again
- 2 minutes prior to serving, add the rice noodles and stir into the pho
|Oodles Of Noodles|
- You're ready to serve
If you're going to use Chicken (which for some unknown odd reason, I have completely gone off of), slice the breast into equal sized thin strips (about 2cm thick) and add to the Pho 10 minutes prior to serving to poach.
For King Prawns, devein and add 3 minutes before serving.
|Gluten Free Pho|
You can leave the basic Pho minus the Bean Sprouts and noodles on a low heat for longer than an hour if need be but don't add those ingredients or else they'll become soggy. Also, don't add the Chicken or Prawns in that case either.
This is hot so beware.
I've played around with this recipe each time I've made it and I came to the conclusion that I prefer dried Ginger over fresh. I love fresh Ginger, Ginger of any kind actually, but in this case I found the balance of flavours were far better with the dried.
Also, I started off using fresh Coriander as well as the seeds but again, I decided better without. Fine for a garnish though but it's not often that I garnish something as you might be aware.
As for the Fish Sauce, well that's where the saltiness comes from. I find 6 tablespoons to be the perfect balance as a shared meal but were I to be having it alone I'd actually add a couple more. It's very much a personal preference.
The Lemongrass. I started chopping it into thick slices but I didn't feel that the flavour came through enough in this cooking time. Problem with slicing it the way I do now is that it gets mixed up with everything else and it's impossible to remove before serving. Still, I think it looks good cut this way and it isn't too bad having to put to one side as you're eating. It's quite obvious as it stays rigid. There may be a better solution but I haven't found it yet.
I find this meal really fresh and zingy tasting, with quite a lot of heat. For a vegetarian version you can use gluten free Vegetable stock and pop some button mushrooms into the Pho, they soak up the flavours like little sponges.
When serving this meal, bit of advice; Its best to use a ladle and tongs to get equal portions of Rice Noodles and Bean Sprouts. I served it one day and The Glutenite had no Noodles.
So that's my take on Pho, I'm now off to cook Sushi Rice to make something like this:
To the weekend! :)