25 years ago, a bowl of noodle soup in Thailand was about 3 Baht ($0.10). In that bowl, there were soft noodle, super tender pieces of meat and bean sprouts swimming in delicious boiling broth. There were also fresh basil, a little coriander leaves and some chopped scallions on top which purled aromatic fragrances through the steam of the broth. It’s a simple, wholesome and indulging meal. A lot of people depended on a meal like that on day-to-day basis. When I was a student, noodle soup was my daily routine. Along with other type of food, we have a few counters of noodle soup at school canteen. And in every street, noodle shops paced a few steps from each other.
Today, the same bowl of noodle soup is about 20-30 Baht. That’s still less than 1 dollar. Noodle soup has evolved in quality and variety. There are so many choices and styles now, and they continue to be the essential choices in Thai dynamic food culture.
Pho, Vietnamese Noodle Soup, is very close to the Thai version. The element of the dish is the same. You get noodle, sliced of meat, some sprouts and green herbs in hot broth. There is a small distinction between Pho and Thai noodle. Pho has subtle broth filled with crisp note of fresh herbs which is very refreshing. Also, in Thailand, we normally don’t serve lime wedges with it, but I love that lime wonderfully highlights the flavor of broth in Pho.
The weather is so lovely, and we make Pho for lunch today. Usually I cook whole chicken for hours to make broth and reserve the super tender and juicy meat for the dish. This is ideal when you are feeding a lot of people and you have time to play in the kitchen. But right now, Sadik is in Florida and it’s just Yaseen and I this week so we want simple food that is quick without compromising the flavor.
This Chicken Pho takes about 20 minutes to make. It’s filled with lovely ingredients. It’s also quite earthy and healthy. The most important part of this dish is the broth. I made mine in advance and stored it in the fridge. You can see how I did it here. This is just perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.
Easy Chicken Pho
Ingredients: (2 Servings)
200 gm boneless chicken thighs- sliced thinly
500 ml chicken stock (I have homemade chicken broth in the fridge, but you can use canned broth or chicken cube- organic preferably)
100 gm dried rice noodle- soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 cup fresh bean sprout
Few fresh coriander – chopped
Few Fresh celery leaves- Chopped (optional)
Some fresh basil for garnishing
Side condiments: Fish sauce, Chili Garlic Vinegar, Lime wedges
- In a bowl, combine chicken, oyster sauce, light soy sauce and sugar. Mix well and let it marinate for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of chicken stock to boil.
- Spontaneously you need to boil a big pot of water at the same time for blanching noodles and bean sprouts.
- Keep 2 big serving bowls ready on the side.
- When the pot of water and the pot of chicken stock are boiling furiously, it’s time to cook and assemble the dish. In a pot of water, add noodle and let it cook for 30 seconds or so. The noodle should be soft but slightly chewy and elastic. Then remove the noodle from the boiling water and transfer it to the serving bowls immediately. In the same boiling water, blanch bean sprouts for 10 seconds, remove from the water, and transfer the sprouts to the bowls on top of the noodle.
- Add chopped coriander leaves, chopped celery leaves and ground white pepper in the noodle bowls.
- In boiling chicken stock, add marinated chicken. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. This depends on how thinly you sliced your chicken. If the chicken slices are very thin, they don’t take a lot of time to cook.
- Add the boiling chicken broth with chicken pieces in the bowl of noodles and serve immediately. Keep the condiments on the side.