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New Year Vietnamese Pho with Crispy Shallots

This recipe evokes special memories for me and I wanted to share a New Year story with you all as we go into 2021! A few years ago on my trip to Vietnam, I was sitting in a little streetside cafe being blown away by a flavorful broth with super fresh vegetables. “How do you make this?!” I asked aloud. It was so different, so exotic and again, simply fresh!

I was determined to learn how to make such an incredible dish myself and I took quite a few all-day cooking classes while in Ho Chi Min City. Since then, I have been practicing my Pho technique and adapting what I include in my own recipe that fits my food goals. So no MSG, no fillers, just pure fresh ingredients including spice blends.

After years of making this delicious and comforting soup, my personalized recipe came together. The spices are key. This isn’t a normal stock. Typically, it requires star anise pods and various loose spices, which somehow are never easily found. Luckily, our Spice Spice Baby spice blend has us covered. In this spice blend you have all the necessary ingredients like anise powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves.

This New Year’s Eve dinner, I made a roasted whole duck. It’s tasty and an indulgence (a step up from chicken and a little more sophisticated than turkey). I saved the carcass, much as you would your thanksgiving turkey, and made this soup. You can also use a chicken carcass if you buy a rotisserie chicken or roast one at home. Vegetable stock also works for this recipe, just add additional veggies to pre-made stock and follow the recipe below. This makes a great Sunday dinner recipe when you can take your time during the day to start the stock and have it ready for dinner.

Leaving you all with a fun fact, Pho is pronounced “fuh.” Ha! That was a major takeaway from my visit along with this wonderful broth. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

XOXO, Sam

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings

For the Broth

  • 1 4-6lb
    duck or chicken carcass
  • 6 cups
    water
  • 1 tbsp
  • ½ cup
    pineapple juice
  • 1 large
    onion quartered, unpeeled
  • 4 cloves
    peeled garlic, crushed
  • 1 2 inch
    piece unpeeled ginger, smashed
  • 10
    green cardamom pods
  • ¼ cup
    fish sauce (I use red boat brand)
  • 2 cups
    Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4
    small baby bok choy,  halved
  • 2
    egg whites, beaten (optional)
  • 16 oz
    dried rice noodles
  • various fresh herbs and garnishes: shredded cabbage, mung bean sprouts, cilantro, green onion, mint, Thai basil, lemon balm, etc)

For the crispy shallots

  • 1 large
    shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1  tbsp
    cornstarch
  • 1 cup
    gluten-free or regular panko or tempura flakes
  • 1
    egg, beaten
  • 1 cup
    flavorless oil (grape seed oil works well)

Start the Pho

  1. In a large soup pot, using no oil, char the onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the water, the duck or chicken carcass, Spice Spice Baby spice blend, pineapple juice, and ginger.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover. Allow to cook for 2 - 6 hours. As it cooks, occasionally skim the oil and foam as it floats to the top. You may need to add more water as it reduces.
  4. Strain the broth into another stockpot with a fine mesh strainer and continue to simmer.
  5. This step is optional. The egg whites help to make the broth clear and remove any residual floaters from the carcass. Add the egg whites to the broth and DO NOT stir. It will float to the top and the particles in the soup will adhere to it. You can remove the cooked egg whites with a slotted spoon, leaving you with a clear broth. If necessary, do one more strain to rid any extra egg.
  6. Add cardamom seeds to the broth and cook with low heat for another 30 minutes.
  7. Add the fish sauce, mushrooms, bok choy and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep under low flame while you prepare the shallots.

Make the Crispy Shallots

  1. In a small bowl, coat the sliced shallots in cornstarch.
  2. Shake off excess cornstarch and add to the beaten egg.
  3. Scoop out the shallots and place in a bowl with the tempura/panko flakes. Coat evenly.
  4. Heat a small saucepan on high heat. Add the oil and when hot, add the shallots. Fry until crispy, 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a plate with a paper towel. Set aside.

Put the Soup Together

  1. Cook the noodles per package instructions. Drain and divide the noodles among 4 soup bowls.
  2. Pour the steaming broth over the noodles. Top with the shredded cabbage, cilantro, green onion and sprinkle the crispy shallots on top. Serve piping hot.
Samantha Binkley
samantha@healthyonyou.com