Sunday, August 3, 2008


One of my favorite dishes, that I've now started preparing at home, is pho (pronounced "fuh"), a hearty Vietnamese soup chock full of meat, noodles, and fresh veggies.

I like both the chicken and beef. I probably prefer beef, but when you've got a cold, nothing beats chicken pho...even old fashioned chicken noodle soup.

Here's how I make it:

I use the soup bases produced by Quoc Viet foods, sold at an Asian market here in Lafayette. If I'm doing chicken, I first boil some chicken (a pack of drumsticks works well) in a big pot of water with scallions and a nice hunk of ginger. You add the soup base and spice packet that comes with it and boil about 20 minutes. It's best if you actually let it simmer at least an hour, though. About 15 minutes prior to serving, you take out the spice packet and add noodles (flat Vietnamese noodles). Meanwhile, you cut up some lime halves, cilantro, mung bean sprouts, and jalapeno for garnish. When the soup is done, you serve it in a big-ass bowl, squeeze in the lime, and add the other garnishes to taste (I usually like a slice or two of jalapeno for spice. Eat with chopsticks and a big soup spoon. You might want to cut the meat off the bone after its cooked to ease eating.

If you've never had it before, seek out a Vietnamese restaurant in your area, or if you're a bit braver, cook up a batch yourself. You'll never go back to canned chicken soup again.


Jill said...

I have to say I was surprised by this post...a recipe from Derek. But then, maybe you need to start a new blog "Cooking as a Hobby"...I love Pho too. It's wholesome and good. Get to feeling better!

Derek James said...

Thanks, Jill...but I'm actually not sick. I just wanted to eat some Pho. :)

Anonymous said...

Lol -- I had the same reaction as Jill. I haven't been here for awhile, but this blog seems to have turned domestic of late. Coupling and nesting so often go hand in hand.

As a lover of both Boudin and Pho, though, I'm perfectly content to contemplate the zen of a well-made thing. I've eaten Pho at restaurants and homes -- the best was done in someone's kitchen from a grandmother's recipe.

I have few culinary passions of late, except perhaps for summer fruits, some of which are so rich with sunshine and juice, they need nothing but a wash to perfect them. I love to stop at farmers' markets. But I could switch to something laced with pork fat in a (slowing) heartbeat. The festival season isn't over yet.

Fresh, local ingredients -- that's the key to good eating. Being present where you are, as you are -- that's the philosophy behind it.

-- profess