Healthy yummy chicken ‘pho’ soup

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Pho, pronounced ‘faar” ( which could lead to a number of kin good jokes!) is a delicious, fragrant mind blowing dish from Vietnam. I travelled round Vietnam a few years ago learning as much as I could about the way they cook as I love the flavours of Vietnamese food so much. This soup was definitely one of my favourites.

So, we are first of all going to use LEFT OVER ROAST CHICKEN from the previous recipe to make our stock. Every time I have a chicken I roast the bones to make stock. Even if you don’t want to do it immediately, you can always freeze the carcass and make it at a later date. Or even stockpile your carcasses and make a large batch one rainy weekend. ( do the same with any decent sized left over bones) just make sure you label and date the made stock when you freeze.

I always use organic meat so also use organic veggies when preparing the stock – thus making organic stock. By the way, your home made stock will be far far FAR better than any store bought stock – so those who have read this far and wondering whether it’s worth the effort – yes it is!!

Ok – standard stock. Use any of the scrapings that are left in the roasting pan and throw those and your roasted carcass into a large pan. Add in a peeled and 1/4’d onion, washed and 1/4’d carrot and a washed and 1/4’d celery stick. Cover bones with water and bring to a boil, then turn the temp low. Leave uncovered to simmer for about an hour. Scoop any grunge that floats to the top off. Strain and leave to cool. Once cooled you can then freeze it.

If you have your chicken carcass and you know you want to make pho stock, either to freeze or use immediately, throw in a cinammon stick, 2 cardamom pods and 2 star anises.

Making chicken pho soup ( eventually we have got round to it!)

Ingredients  ( use organic when you can) ( makes 2 large bowls)

1 Homemade organic chicken stock from 1 carcass

Fresh ginger sliced (about 1 inch)

1/2 onion

2 Cardamon pod

2 star anise

1 cinammon stick

2 chicken thighs sliced thinly.

1tsp fish sauce

Fresh vegetables of your choice ( thinly sliced) ( I use bok choy and Chinese cabbage)

Rice noodles ( rinsed and prepared as per package) ( optional)

Toppings ( optional) ( I use all of them!)

Sliced red chilli

Cilantro ( coriander) chopped

Mint chopped

Spring onion sliced thinly.

Sesame oil
Method

Pour the stock into a pan and add the spices. Grill the ginger and onion over a high heat till they are very brown. Add to the stock.  Bring stock to a low boil and hen turn the heat down and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes ( lid on). Add your fish sauce. Taste. If it is too watery or not enough taste , simmer for longer with lid off to reduce stock. Keep tasting until you have delicious aromatic taste bud zingling ( you know, that back of the tongue tingle of expectation!!) flavour.  And that is the main part done! Getting those flavours right is key, adding your chicken and veggies will not make much difference after. Strain the stock.

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When you have the flavour right, bring the stock up to a sligh bubble and add the chicken and veggies. Turn heat down. Add the noodles. 2 minutes and check the chicken is cooked. Ladel into bowls and top with all, or your choice, of toppings.

I often make this dish without the noodles especially after I’ve come back from a holiday with a lardy arse. This is such a great dish if you do want to lose a few pounds, it is absolutely bursting with flavours so it leaves you satisfied and is low in carbs. Just add a few more veggies to the dish to ensure you feel full.

SO WHATS GOOD ABOUT IT?

Chicken: we know it’s a lean source of protein but it is also rich in minerals such as phosphorous, calcium selenium and magnesium also vitamin b5 and zinc.

Ginger: used as a herbal medicine since ancient times, Ginger is bursting with goodies for your body.  Ginger has a host of minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium  and selenium, also vitamins C, E and B6.
AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU?

Chicken: helps build muscles, keeps bones in good condition and can also cut the risk of arthritis. Unbelievably eating chicken can also help reduce stress and a winner for us girls – PMS symptoms and moodiness. The B6 helps decrease the chance of a heart attack.

Ginger: is an anti – inflammatory and an antioxidant and gives protection for colorectal and ovarian  cancer. It helps your body absorb essential nutrients into the body, clears sinuses, is a potential aphrodisiac and a big plus, ( especially if the aphrodisiacal properties are kicking in)  can help flatulence! It’s also good for nausea and tummy cramps. It is a great immune booster and a nerve soothing analgesic.

Healthy and delicious chicken and chips – no basket required!
Healthy Middle Eastern Pork with Apple and Mint Quinoa

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