PHO (Noodle soup with your choice of protein)

 

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This is my take on the Vietnamese Pho! I really like the concept and its easy to make it very nourishing by adding lots of vegetables. I have used lots of bell peppers in this recipe to come up with the most basic and quickest yet flavorful soup. But you can easily add vegetables of your choice- broccoli, carrots, bok choi, green beans, tomatoes, sprouted beans etc depending on the vegetables and time you have. The ginger, garlic and cilantro combination impart a very cleansing effect to the soup. I would prefer to use whole wheat vermicelli or partial whole grain pasta next time with this soup, not just for the fiber content but for a better taste. However, I tried this soup for the first time with the regular egg noodles. It’s best to cook them a little al dente. You can serve this with pan-fried tilapia or shrimp. Vegetarians can add 1½ cup of cooked kidney beans or any other beans or tofu (plain or pan-fried) to the vegetables to incorporate some proteins in the meal.

Per serving: 243 cals | 16 g protein | 4 g fiber | 15 g total fat

Ingredients (3 servings)

1 ½ large green bell pepper/ capsicum, deseeded & diced

1 ½ large red bell pepper, deseeded & diced

½ onion* / 1 bunch spring onion or scallions, chopped

½” ginger, finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp oil for the soup

¼ cup cilantro along with the stems, coarsely chopped

3 ½ cups vegetable/ chicken stock (or any soaked dal/beans water for a healthier alternative) — see note below

Salt & ground black pepper  as needed

150 g egg noodles (1 packet) (Ching’s or any other brand)

egg noodles

For pan-frying tilapia or shrimp or cooked beans

1 ½ tilapia (or any fish) fillets/ 1 ½ cup medium shrimp/ 1 ½ cup cooked beans

1 tbsp oil

¼ tsp red chili powder

¼ tsp coriander powder

¼ tsp cumin powder

Salt to taste

* ½ onion in the US= 1 onion in India

Procedure

  1. Sprinkle cumin, coriander and chili powder on the tilapia pieces/ shrimp/ cooked beans along with salt & spread well. Pan fry with 1 tbsp oil (till both sides are done in case of tilapia & shrimp). This will take 2–3 minutes. You can also use cooking spray if you want to cut down the fat further. Once done, keep them aside.
  2. Heat oil in a steel pot and add the chopped onion and saute on medium heat. After about 2 minutes add the diced bell peppers or vegetables of your choice, ground black pepper, chopped ginger, garlic and cilantro and saute for a minute.
  3. Now pour 3 ½ cups of vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium) & 1 ½ cups water and let the bell peppers cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. In the mean time let’s cook the noodles. Cook the egg noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Or, boil 10 cups of water in a stock pot. When the water begins to boil add the whole packet to the water and let the noodles cook for 3 minutes or so. It is better to undercook the noodles (al dente as the Italians say). It helps reduce the spike in your blood glucose after consumption. Drain the noodles in a colander & portion them into 3 bowls. Place the tilapia pieces, shrimp or cooked beans over the noodles and then pour the hot soup on top of it. Serve hot.

 

NOTE:

This is a very basic and quick recipe. But when I have more time, instead of any ready-made stocks, I prepare this recipe with my own vegetable stock. I just use a variety of vegetables and boil them with any soaked dal or legume water. I have used bell peppers, bok choi, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, sprouts etc. to create a more flavorful pho as you can see below. You can also add some 1 -2 tsp of miso paste, if you are really into South East Asian cooking.

cropped-pho2.jpg

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