Sunday, 30 January 2011

Phở Gà

I'm a bit behind in posting at the moment - time has just got away from me recently so I'll have to put a few things up tomorrow.

I completely failed to cook anything Burns Night-esque on Tuesday night which is a bit of a shame.. it was partly as I had started a chicken stock the night before with plans of following Bobby Chinn's Phở Gà recipe (pronounced fuh gar) from his Vietnam Food cookbook and partly because I just completely forgot!

My intention had been to follow Bobby's recipe verbatim but I couldn't really be bothered to make stock then the soup base so did a sort of all in one, albeit with an overnight gap when I chilled the stock to make the skimming off of fat and impurities a bit easier.

Weirdly the beansprouts I had bought seemed to have been posessed by a decomposition spirit and within the space of 24 hours had turned to complete mush in the fridge - luckily I also had some alfalfa and sango radish shoots so used them instead.

Pho Gà
Serves 2

2 chicken legs with skin and bones
1 med banana shallot
thumb joint sized chunk of ginger
¼ tsp coriander seeds
½ stick cinnamon
1 star anise
1 clove
20ml fish sauce
1tsp palm sugar
garnish = 2 spring onions (green parts finely chopped and white parts finely sliced), beansprouts, coriander, birds eye chilli, ½ lime cut into 3 wdges, freshly ground white pepper

Bring a large pan of water to boil, while whacking the chicken bones with cleaver to break them up. When the water has boiled, add the bones plus the chicken leg meat (including the skin) to the water and let boil for 5 mins (this helps to remove impurities).

Chicken gore and broth ingredients
Meanwhile char the shallot and ginger under a naked flame - this takes about 10 minutes. Using a kitchen blowtorch would work quite well here but mine was out of gas: doing the naked gas flame can be a little disconcerting!

At the same time place the star anise, cloves, coriander seeds & cinnamon in a dry frying pan and dry roast over a flame until fragrant.

Remove the pan from the heat, drain and rinse the bones and chicken meat. Rinse and clean the pot then put the chicken bones and meat back in with 1 litre fresh water.

Clean the blackened skin of the shallots and ginger and add to the pan with the chicken along with the dry roasted spices.

Bring the water to the boil then turn the heat down to low. After 15-20 mins, remove the chicken and set aside. Carry on simmering the stock for another 1½ hours, skimming off thenscum every now and again.

Allow to cool, put chicken back in the pot and then refrigerate over night.

The next day, skim off the fat & any impurities. Reheat on the stove and when chicken warmed through, remove and shred. Set aside.

Simmer the broth for 10 minutes. Season with fish sauce & sugar to taste. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Blanch noodles so heated through and arrange in 2 bowls. Garnish with coriander, radish / alfalfa shoots and the shredded white spring onion. Top that with the shredded chicken and pour over the broth.

Serve with lime, chopped chilli, black pepper & extra coriander.

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