Asian Inspired

by Anna Hewitt

And so another Friday rolls round and it is coming up five weeks in this city. The sun is still shining, the wind is still gusting and I am still pottering in the kitchen, exploring new neighbourhoods and waiting for a work visa.

Earlier this week I wandered through Chinatown. Apparently it is the oldest Chinatown in North America, and the largest population of Chinese outside Asia. I walked past smells I couldn’t quite place, cars and fumes, shouting, lanterns and Chinese women doing synchronised dancing in a park opposite a beautiful Catholic church. I walked past these, and I started thinking about what to make for dinner. Something spicy, fresh and with noodles. Pho was calling to me.

Now this isn’t a real pho (a Vietnamese noodle soup), but my version made from what I had in the cupboard and what I felt like eating that night. Although it looks like there are a lot of flavours and ingredients, it really is very easy to make- there are only three steps. Simple as that. You can change it up, play around with different flavours and make it work for you. Have a go and let me know what yours turned out like.

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A Kind of Pho

Broth
Skin and bones from 2 big chicken thighs
1 litre water
1 celery stalk- with leaves
1 onion
1 carrot
1 chilli
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp hossein sauce
1 chunk of ginger, skin on
4 cloves garlic
Salt

Soup
Flesh from the chicken thighs, finely sliced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
2 bok choy, halved
Noodles – I used soba because that is what we had, but wide glass noodles would be better

Garnish
1 lime, quartered
Big handful of fresh coriander
Handful of mung beans
2 spring onions finely sliced
Fresh chilli, finely sliced
Half an onion, finely sliced and deep fried

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First of all, you need to make your broth. Simply put all your broth ingredients in a big pot, bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour. This should give plenty of time for all your ingredients to get together and create a flavoursome broth. Taste to make sure it is good, and add more of anything you think it needs. Strain and put back on the heat. Bring to the boil again and add the chicken, mushrooms, bok choy and noodles. These should only take five minutes to cook, so while this is happening, finely finely slice some onion and deep fry and salt it. This will make a deliciously salty and sweet element to top your soup with. Divide your soup into bowls and get garnishing. Or, lay the garnishes on the table and let people add what they want.

Happy weekend x

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