Gluten Free Fast Pho Recipe
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup with restorative properties – it helps get you through the sniffles, warms your bones and is a pretty good hangover food as well. In other words, it is good pho you. (Yes, I went there, sorry!)
While pho should be a naturally gluten free recipe, often it is not, especially when you grab a bowl at one of those little corner pho joints. Often the broth is made with a soup base which contains gluten. You can of course make your own soup broth from scratch but all that work is sort of counter intuitive when you are in need of a soup with restorative powers.
Due to the dietary restrictions and choices in my family I wanted a broth that would be gluten free and work for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike. I decided to use BOU vegetable bouillon cubes. This way I could use meat – in this case chicken, as an optional garnish.
Speaking of garnishes, that is what, in my opinion, pho is all about! I mean otherwise it is just a bowl of noodles with broth, fine but not magically restorative. The thing with garnishes is that each person customizes their own bowl, no two soups are the same and each is an individual masterpiece designed by the diner. Serve the pho with dishes filled with lime wedges, cilantro and basil leaves, sliced green onions, slices of fresh chili peppers, bean sprouts and in this case, chicken shredded from a rotisserie bird from the store – making this really fast pho!
Of course there is no pho without noodles. Look for rice noodles, also called Bahn Pho Noodles, in Asian markets or in the ethnic section of the grocery store. They come in different sizes; I think the medium (about ¼ inch thick) are perfect. And, according to the lady who runs my local Asian market, disregard the instruction on the package that tells you to boil the noodles. Instead, soak the noodles until soft in warm water (about 10 minutes) then place them in a strainer set in a mixing bowl. Just before serving, fill the bowl with boiling water, let the noodles sit for 5 seconds then place in the bowls and ladle on hot broth. This method results in perfectly cooked noodles that are not mushy.
So, in case you caught the sniffles this holiday season or indulged just a wee bit too much, think about making fast pho. It may just magically restore you back to good health!
- ½ pound rice noodles (Banh Pho)
- 4 gluten free bouillon cubes
- 5 cups boiling water
- 1 bunch green onions thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 handful cilantro leaves
- 1 handful basil leaves
- 2 Thai or jalapeno peppers thinly sliced
- 2 fresh limes cut into wedges
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (omit for vegan or vegetarian)
Soak the noodles in very warm water until softened, about 10 minutes.
Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 5 cups boiling water. Add half of the sliced green onions and season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.
Once the noodles are softened, drain them, put into a strainer set in a large bowl and fill the bowl with boiling water. Let sit for 5 seconds, drain and divide the noodles among 4 large soup bowls. Divide the hot broth among the 4 bowls of noodles. Serve immediately with all the additional ingredients on the side. Let each diner design their pho the way they want.
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