HEALTHFUL GOODNESS IN A BOWL OF SOUP
This chicken noodle Pho-style soup is soy and gluten-free, and it is full of goodness for your body. The shiitake mushrooms alone have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti fungal properties. They can help reduce inflammation and control blood sugar levels. Ginger also reduces inflammation and has been effective as a pain killer. It supports the digestive tract with its prebiotic content that causes good bacteria to grow. That’s just a start to the health benefits of this soup.
A CRAVING FOR PHO
Last weekend I had a craving for Pho, the Vietnamese soup pronounced “fuh”. I love the intensely flavored broth. It comes to the table steaming with rice noodles and blanched chicken. On the side you get a plate of flavors to add to it like Thai basil, cilantro, caramelized shallots, sliced Jalapeño or Serrano chili, lime, and a pile of mung beans. It is probably my favorite version of chicken noodle soup. Last winter when I was sick it was the only thing I ate for three days while my stomach healed.
CHANGE IS GOOD
However, there are two things I’d change: make the chicken more flavorful and add more vegetables. The chicken Pho I ordered from our local Vietnamese restaurant was perfect with minimal ingredients and bland chicken when my stomach wasn’t ready for much more. I was certain I could make some improvements with a few changes and come up with my own chicken noodle Pho-style soup.
When I was buying groceries on Monday my craving was still on my mind. I decided that I’d experiment and make my own version. We had it for dinner Tuesday night and it was pretty darn good, so good that I want to share the recipe with you.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Start by mixing Coconut Aminos, Umami (a Japanese flavoring), Fish Sauce and chili flakes in a small bowl. I use Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce or tumari. I have a soy intolerance and the Coconut Aminos are the closest substitution I have found. I even carry a bottle with me when we go out for sushi. Put the chicken in a bowl and pour the sauce over it. The chicken will marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, however, you could do this a few hours ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator. This will give the chicken more time to soak up the flavors in the sauce. If you do put the chicken in the refrigerator take it out when you start preparing the other ingredients to bring it to room temperature.
Prepare a cup of each of the following: sliced shiitake mushrooms, chopped red pepper, chopped snow peas and grated carrots. I bought the organic carrots already grated in a bag to save time. Peel and slice a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root. Wash, de-stem and chop a handful of cilantro, about a half cup. Slice the white and light green parts of 3 scallions. Cut a lime into quarters. You can keep all of these fresh ingredients in neat little piles on your chopping board or separate them into small bowls.
WHAT ARE MIRACLE NOODLES?
Instead of the rice noodles used in traditional Pho I tried something different. A few months ago I heard about Shirataki pasta or Miracle Noodles on a podcast. I bought some and they’ve been in my pantry waiting for me to use them. These noodles are made from the soluble fiber from the root of a plant called the Konnyaku Imo. They are zero calorie, soy free, gluten free, cholesterol free and vegan. You can use rice noodles, however the Miracle Noodles are worth a try if you can find them. I used the fettuccini noodles, but they come in a variety of pasta sizes. They are easy to prepare by following the directions on the package. I actually thought they were easier than rice noodles.
GRILL THE CHICKEN
At this point you’ll want to get a pan to cook the chicken in. I prefer my small grill pan. When looking for cookware make sure it is PFOA, PTFE, lead & cadmium-free. You want to avoid the toxins in traditional non-stick cookware that can leach into the food cooked in them. Heat about a tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan and when hot drop the chicken strips into the pan searing them on all sides. Turn the heat down and let them cook until just done. Try not to over cook because they will cook a bit longer in the soup pot. Let them sit for 5 minutes off of the heat before shredding or slicing.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
I chose another short cut by using Pacific Organic Chicken Pho Soup Base. It has a nice flavor and helps make this recipe a quick week night meal. Pour the broth into a pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients. I love my Le Creuset enamel pot. It is heavy but has held up over years of use on the stove top and in the oven. When the soup comes to a simmer add the ginger, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook those for 3 minutes and then add the red peppers and snow peas. You can add the noodles and chicken now as well. If you like heat sprinkle in some chili flakes.
CHICKEN NOODLE PHO-STYLE SOUP
DINNER IS READY
To serve, ladle the all the goodness into bowls and top with cilantro, green onions and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy and know that you are nourishing your body with immunity building, inflammation fighting and digestive tract support. We had plenty for the two of us and enough for my lunch the next day.
What is your favorite soup?