I've decided to try my hand at Pho (pronouced Fuh - in case you wondered) because I found lemon grass at the H-Mart, the local Asian market, for a great price. They had great prices on all sorts of produce. Made me sorry I'd payed for organic cilantro at Kroger!
Anyway, I can be inspired by the silliest things. I was already planning to make a ginger chicken soup for dinner but couldn't find the noodles so, of course, a trip to H-Mart was required... then I spotted the lemon grass.
I read a bunch of recipes to figure this out, but I don't have all the right ingredients. Here is my "American kitchen" version (with lemon grass!).
I am using 2 lbs of chicken, mostly thighs and a skinless breast and I've chopped through the middle of each thigh bone because I read that you want to open the marrow to make better broth. It's worth a try. You should choose the noodles you like and prepare them ahead by soaking or boiling according to the package instructions.
Put all ingredients into a large pot:
2 lbs chicken pieces
about 3 1/2 quarts of water
about 3" of ginger root, sliced unpeeled
a large clove of garlic coursly chopped into chunks
the tops of a couple stalks of celery
the ends from a bunch of cilantro
2 stalks of lemon grass coursely choped
1 small onion (about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup coarsly chopped)
Boil the broth and add:
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp clove (or 4 whole ones - I couldn't find them)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt (may need more)
Reduce to a simmer for about 2 hours. Now, either strain the soup or use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetable and chicken. The broth is supposed to be very clear and very flavorful. Pick out the chicken and tear it into small pieces. The torn up chicken can be added back to the broth or served on the side to be added with the fresh vegetables. I put the chicken back in and I added three thinly sliced carrots.
Coarsely chop cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced red onions
Mung bean sprouts
Thinly sliced red or green pepper
sliced green onion
Probably even zuchinni or snow peas would be good.
Pour the hot broth over the noodles and serve with vegetables. Asian hot pepper sauces and soy sauce are good on the soup too.
I know, this probably isn't *exactly* a proper pho, but it turns out pretty good and even my picky eaters enjoyed it.
** Edited to add onion to the recipe.