There’s almost no life event that isn’t improved by an Asian noodle soup – they console, they nourish, they put spring back into your step and the world back in balance. I think they could quite easily be the perfect food – lots of clear broth, a little high quality protein, some slurpy carbs and a final flurry of fresh greenery. Some chilli sauce on the side, obviously. Perfect.
This very quick, down and dirty cheat’s pho is going to be way better if you start out with a high quality chicken stock. Any stock that doesn’t jelly when cold is not worth its, um, salt (which should not be an ingredient of a good stock, may I add). But use whatever you can get your hands on. Ain’t no stock-shaming here. Just be aware that if there’s added salt in the stock, you should ease off on the fish sauce.
1 tbs mildly flavoured oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
0.5 tsp salt
300g chicken breast fillet, sliced finely
1 litre good chicken stock
3 tbs hoisin sauce
2 tbs fish sauce
150g dried flat rice noodles, soaked in hot water until soft
Garnish: fresh bean sprouts, plucked Thai basil, coriander and/or mint leaves, chopped chilli, thinly sliced onion, lemon or lime quarters, crisp fried shallots, chilli sauce.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the garlic and ginger for a few moments till fragrant but not coloured. Stir through the chicken breast fillet so that it’s coated in the mixture and becoming opaque. Add the hoisin and fish sauce, again, stirring to coat, then cover with the chicken stock. Bring it to a simmer.
Divide the noodles between two or three bowls, pour over the hot stock and make sure the chicken is distributed evenly.
Serve with any or all of fresh bean sprouts, plucked Thai basil, coriander and/or mint leaves, chopped chilli, thinly sliced onion, lemon or lime quarters and crisp fried shallots, with chilli sauce on the side.