Faux Pho

I came home from a long day at the jobette on Tuesday to find Rob and his power tools hard at work in the bathroom, installing the extractor fan. In order for him to do that, I had to move things around in the storage loft above the bathroom, and remove a box of my father’s letters.

I made the mistake of glancing at one or two of them, dated just weeks before his sudden death, and was overwhelmed with emotion and choked up with tears. I stowed the box under the stairs, marvelling that thirteen years after we lost him, the grief can still be so fresh. Audrey promptly sat on the box, perhaps saving me from myself.

In a Dad-like manner, I turned my attention to dinner, trying out a new recipe for pho, a Vietnamese soup.

Needless to say, I took serious liberties with the original recipe, partly because it uses beef, which I don’t eat, and partly because that’s just the way I am.

Here’s the original recipe. I skipped the first part and substituted two cans of Campbell’s chicken broth (there is no substitute for Campbell’s, though it is a little salty) and two cans of water. I poached two boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the broth along with the spices. I cut down on the cinnamon and skipped the star anise. Also left out the salt due to the Campbell”s, and used about a teaspoonful of brown sugar in place of rock sugar.

As for the garlic-chili oil, I used about a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes, since food should come in hot, medium, mild, and Suzy, and stepped up the sesame oil, because I love it.

I poured the soup through a colander into a smaller pot, then cut up the chicken and returned it to the broth. I brought the broth up to a simmer and added the rice noodles instead of pre-soaking, etc., and cooked for about 15 minutes. I served it with lime wedges, chopped cilantro, bean sprouts, and chopped green onions.

It was magically delicious.