We love pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup with fresh mint, cilantro and basil. Double yum on a cold rainy day.
But we also live in the South, where there are few Vietnamese to support a good pho restaurant. And it’s 90 degree with 60-80% humidity for 3-4 months of the year.
Fortunately, Memphis has several large international grocery stores where we can find all kinds of different cuisines. So of course Mom wants to go explore. I think she might overdo it.
Since we don’t know products like which noodles to get, we get several. We bought five on this trip.
On the drive back to Nashville, we settle on making chicken pho. I made beef pho years ago and remember it was a 2-3 day process. I did not want to do that again. I hoped and assumed chicken would take less time.
Little did we know how hard it was to find the rest of the ingredients. Lucky the Mennoite farmers market vendor had a beautiful bundle of fresh Thai basil. Wow, it makes the kitchen smell so good.
Cilantro is a critical ingredient in the broth. Why, oh, why did we have a craving for pho during a national recall for cilantro? Found it by the end of the week.
No luck finding chicken backs at the farmers market (it was on the price list, but she didn’t bring any. Besides it was $3/pound.) Nor 3 grocery stores. What do they do with the bone? So we substituted legs for the back bones. We have now spent $15 just in chicken. Remember there are only two of us. Yeah….
Ok, read through the recipe 2-3 times and get started. 3 hours later the broth is simmering. But it’s weak. So I let it simmer until dinner time.
Dinner was very yummy. Consumed too quickly of a photo op. But there’s enough chicken and noodles to feed an army. Noodles are in the freezer as is the rest of the broth (disappointedly only 2 quart containers). Chicken is being slowly eaten in every other leftover kind of way.
Thai basil and cilantro went into a Thai pesto sauce. Right into the freezer. Save it for when Mom wants noodles again.
We agreed. It’s worth the drive to go find a good pho restaurant.
We are making pho no more.
And enough noodles. We want rice.
Update: Oops, guess she isn’t tired of noodles. As I’m cleaning the dinner dishes, out come a box of chow mien noodles.