Think of this as a salmon pho, the Vietnamese equivalent of comforting and hearty noodle soup usually made with beef. I’ve skipped a few of the traditional salad garnishes to make this a quick, easy weeknight meal in a bowl, but feel free to add a few more garnishes if you like. Sliced green onions and bean sprouts would be good, and pumping up the heat with a little sriacha, a chile purée, will give the soup an extra kick. This soup is especially welcome on a chilly, rainy night, and I always enjoy any leftovers.
- 5 ounces rice stick noodles (see Notes)
- 8 large dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1 yellow onion, halved lengthwise and cut into thin wedges
- 2 serrano chiles, including seeds and ribs, cut into thin rounds
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (see Notes)
- 3 star anise pods
- 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
- 6 heads baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
- 1 salmon fillet (1 pound), skin and pin bones removed (see Notes), cut into 6 equal portions
- ¾ cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil or sweet basil leaves, shredded (see Notes)
Place the rice stick noodles in a large bowl and cover completely with hot water. Soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Rinse under warm water, drain, then cover and set aside.
Place the mushrooms in a small container with a tight-fitting lid, fill the container to the top with hot water, and cover. (Using a covered container keeps the mushrooms completely submerged.) Soak the mushrooms until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, discard the stems, and cut the mushrooms into thin strips. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a 6-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat and swirl to coat the pan. Sauté the garlic, ginger, onion, and chiles until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, and anise. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the carrot and reserved mushrooms and cook until the carrot is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bok choy and salmon. Simmer just until the salmon is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes longer.
Divide the noodles among 6 heated soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles and top each bowl with a piece of salmon and 2 portions of bok choy. Garnish with the basil and serve immediately.