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Rice Noodles, Bok Choy, and Shrimp in Ginger-Chicken Broth

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This is my version of pho (pronounced “fah”), the hearty Vietnamese rice-noodle soup that is served in enormous bowls with a fork to eat the noodles and vegetables and a dipping spoon for the rich broth.

NotesRice vermicelli, also called rice sticks, are thin (about 1/16 inch), brittle strands often folded into loose wads. The packages are large (often about 14 ounces) and the vermicelli are tough and hard to break apart. I use heavy-duty poultry shears to cut them into the amount needed. When soaked, they soften, unravel, and expand. Soak them in room-temperature tap water; some package directions say to soak them in boiling water, but I find that can make them gummy. They take about 1 hour to soften enough to be pliable and just slightly firm to the bite. They will continue to soften in the simmering soup.

Makes10 cups; 4 to 5 servings

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Moodblue

Taste and Textureherby, savory, spiced, umami

Type of Dishhot soup, soup

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces dried rice vermicelli (rice sticks; see Notes)
  • 8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion, trimmed
  • 1 garlic clove, bruised with the side of a knife
  • 3 ounces shiitakes, stems discarded, caps wiped clean and cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 4 ounces baby bok choy (about 4), outside leaves and stems trimmed, cut across into ½-inch strips (2 to 3 cups)
  • 4 ounces frozen small cooked shrimp, shelled, thawed and blotted dry (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chile oil, or to taste, or a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and crisped in ice water
  • ½ cup thin diagonal slices scallion greens
  • Mint leaves
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Thai basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Place the rice vermicelli in a large bowl and cover with room-temperature tap water. Let stand for about 1 hour, checking for tenderness occasionally. When the noodles are soft but still slightly firm to the bite, drain. (They should yield about 3 cups.)

  2. Meanwhile, for the broth: Combine the broth, ginger, scallion, and garlic in a large saucepan; heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over a large bowl and strain the broth. Discard the solids.

  3. Pour the seasoned broth back into the saucepan. Add the shiitakes; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Stir the bok choy, shrimp, and drained noodles into the simmering broth. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and chile oil. Season to taste with salt.

  5. Ladle the soup into deep soup bowls, distributing the ingredients evenly. Sprinkle with the garnishes.

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Pho is pronounced "fuh," rhymes with "huh."

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