Friday, October 15, 2010

Everybody in the Pot: FFwD's Vietnamese Blend

 What do you get when you pour almost everything that you like to eat into one pot and slurp? Some would say ramen, and I wouldn't disagree, but almost every cuisine has its version of a hot, restorative, noodle soup, and I happen to think that the Vietnamese do it very well indeed. I've rarely met a pho I couldn't get along with (we won't talk fishballs now), and Dorie Greenspan's pho ga/la sa ga hybrid was no exception. 

Matt doesn't do coconut, so I waited until he was on tour before pouring an entire can of coconut milk into some chicken broth, simmering with aromatics including cilantro, anise, and chiles, and poaching some chicken thighs in the broth. One of the things that can make Southeast Asian cooking difficult is the long ingredient lists--even a 'simple' soup is apt to have ten flavoring elements and fifteen add-ins, but in this case I found that almost all of the flavoring elements have become pantry staples for me, and that the CSA had provided many of the herbs I don't always have on hand, including cilantro and Thai basil. There were glass noodles in the cupboard, and the whole thing just came together remarkably...simply. When it was steaming, I filled a bowl with bean sprouts, chopped basil and cilantro, and sambal oelek, and poured it in.
And continued to do so for lunch and dinner for the next few days. Matt was gone, and Jill, who was staying with me, doesn't eat meat, so I hoarded the whole batch for myself. And slurped and slurped. And will have some more soon. With such a loose and elastic recipe, I found myself unintimidated by the ingredient list, and looking forward to adding, subtracting, trying the variation with curry and lemongrass (which I just found at the farmer's market, hurray!), throwing in some black mushrooms, and making each day's soup a little different.


Flourchild said...

I love your big bowl of soup..great looking soup! I enjoyed this recipe.

Jenn said...

your soup looks super yummy Katya. I love the before and after broth submersion picture :).

Tia said...

Your soup looks hearty, tasty, fresh and delicious!

lola said...

What fun you had with this soup. A really nice post. It was delicious.

Mary said...

I loved this soup too, and I think I'll have some with rice when my noodles run out. And maybe vegetables too, but not too many. No fish balls, though.

Anonymous said...

Looks good - we started out using spoons and then resorted to forks, as well. Next time it'll be spoons and chopsticks, I think.

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Ur rite, it comes together pretty well and quick!!
Specially if ur pantry is stocked with them all!!
Ur soup looks delish and so do the pics!!