This recipe skips the MSG often found in restaurant pho and uses a traditional and punchy dipping bowl of kaffir lime, salt, and pepper instead. You can dip pieces of chicken before slurping mouthfuls of noodles followed by spoonfuls of warming broth, so that the tail end of lemony, salty chicken flavour seasons each mouthful.
Remove chicken giblets. In large pot, cover whole chicken with 18 cups (4.5 L) water. Bring to just below a boil. Skim scum that rises to top. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, or until a chopstick inserted in the underside of the thigh goes in easily or meat thermometer inserted in chicken thigh reads 165 F (74 C).
Remove chicken from pot to large bowl and, when cool enough to handle, separate chicken into large pieces. Discard skin and remove meat from breast and thighs. Return bones to pot.
Place oven rack in centre of oven and preheat broiler. In baking dish, blacken unpeeled shallots and ginger under broiler. Rotate every 5 minutes (set a timer) to blacken evenly, about 20 minutes total. Theyu2019re done when softened and shallots start releasing sweet juices.
Remove from oven and rinse shallots to remove outer skins. Tear shallots into pieces. When cool enough to handle, whack unpeeled ginger with blunt side of large knife on cutting board. Slice in half lengthwise, then into 1/4 in (6 mm) slices widthwise, like thick quarters.
Remove cilantro leaves from stems. Snip cilantro leaves in half with scissors and set aside for garnish. Add stems only, along with ginger and shallots, directly to large broth pot with the chicken bones, or combine in cheesecloth for easier removal.
Add sugar and fish sauce or soy sauce to pot and simmer, partially covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 1/2 hours. Longer simmering results in more flavourful broth.
Meanwhile, finely chop dark green parts of green onions and add to soup. Finely chop the white and pale green parts and set aside.
In another large pot, bring at least 8 cups (2 L) water
to a boil. Add noodles and simmer until soft, about
4 minutes. Drain noodles and divide among 8 bowls. Place shredded chicken on top, followed by finely chopped green onion.
Roll kaffir lime leaves into tight cigar. Slice thinly (chiffonade) with knife or scissors. Reserve a little chiffonaded kaffir lime for later and divide the remainder among 8 bowls. Top with some cilantro leaves.
Taste broth and adjust with fish sauce or sugar, as desired. Remove cheesecloth, if using. With fine-mesh strainer, ideally lined with cheesecloth, strain broth into large bowl or another pot. Ladle strained broth over bowls of noodles. Garnish with cilantro.
To serve, place remaining chiffonaded kaffir lime and a sprinkle of pepper and salt into individual dipping bowls or ramekins and squeeze juice of a quarter lime over each. Prepare side plates of fresh basil leaves and bean sprouts for each person to add, as desired.
Enjoy, and feel better.
A tribute to the bounty and beauty of nature, this chocolate bark is studded with nuts, seeds, and berries and flavoured with the warming spices of ginger and cinnamon. Adding sweet paprika and chili also gives an interesting kick to a winter favourite. Cut back on the red pepper flakes if you prefer a less spicy version. Chocolate contains tryptophan—an essential amino acid—that helps our brain produce serotonin. Eating chocolate is a delicious way to get a mood boost, which can help lift our spirits when sunlight levels are low. Food of the Gods In the taxonomy of plants, the cacao plant, from which chocolate is derived, is called Theobroma cacao. Theobroma comes from Greek for “food of the gods.” Cacao comes from the Mayan word for the plant.
Up your omega-3 intake with these easy-to-make salmon parchment pockets. The sockeye fillets are first rubbed with a marinade of juniper berries, citrus zest, and garlic before being enclosed in parchment. Juniper has a strong and piney flavour and lends a unique tang to this dish. It also contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to capture the juices that arise during steaming. No mortar and pestle? Crush juniper berries by laying them between two sheets of parchment and bashing them gently with a rolling pin.
Escarole is a bitter green that stands up to heat and is suitable for grilling, braising, or using in soups. In this salad, it’s broiled with radishes before being dressed in a sweet, garlicky dressing that cuts the bitterness. Escarole is high in folate (vitamin B9), important in red blood cell formation, and vitamin A, important in immune function and eye health. Like kale and other cruciferous vegetables, it’s also very high in vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting. Bitter green substitutes If you can’t find escarole, use frisée (also called curly endive), mustard greens, or radicchio. Romaine also stands up to heat well and makes a good substitute, but it lacks the characteristic bitterness of the others.
In Japan, it’s a custom to eat kabocha squash on the day of the winter solstice as a symbol of good health. In fact, kabocha squash contains cancer-fighting antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein. It’s also full of fibre and vitamins A and C. We’ve made a roasted version dressed in a sweet and tangy marinade that’s sprinkled with sesame seeds before roasting in the oven. The remaining marinade, full of ginger, tamari, and red pepper flakes, is used as a dressing to further flavour the squash. Know your squash You’ll recognize kabocha squash by its dark green rind and round shape. Its yellowish-orange flesh is sweeter than other types and has been likened to a cross between sweet potato and pumpkin. The rind is quite hard but is edible when cooked. Wash squash well and take care while cutting. You can microwave the whole squash for 4 to 5 minutes prior to cutting to help soften the rind and make things a bit easier.