Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pho Attack

Some kids go off to college, drink beer, get into all sorts of trouble and do wild and crazy things.

Not my kid.

If a Girls Gone Wild video were ever to emerge of her, she would probably be robbing a soup kitchen, running madly down the street, a steaming hot Styrofoam cup in hand, dodging homeless people, a dazed look on her face, desperate for a fix.

My daughter is a soup fiend.

Oh it started out innocently, Gerber Turkey Stew, and Campbell's Chicken Noodle dinner when she was a toddler. Then there was the occasional Alphabet Soup which she called ABC's. Later she moved on to Ramen as an after school snack. And before we knew it, she was hooked, devouring cans of Progresso and Campbell's Select. Then she moved on to the hard stuff ... only fresh, homemade would do. Now she hangs out on street corners, in front of cafes and Panera Bread, looking for a fix. Oh the shame! The horror! A kid who will not eat canned soup!

It sounds crazy, but I cannot think of a day gone by when my daughter has not eaten or at least thought about soup. She has even been known wake up and eat soup for breakfast.

What's a troubled parent to do?

For now, my only recourse is to make more soup.

And that is exactly what I did, last night, around midnight, when the cravings hit and little provisions were to be found. I wound up making this version of Pho - a brothy Vietnamese rice noodle soup usually served with Thai basil, lime wedges and bean sprouts on the side.

If you haven't been to a Vietnamese restaurant that serves this delicious soup, I suggest you go. Oklahoma City has a large Asian district and if you drive along one particular street ... all you see are crowded street mall-turned-restaurants with signs depicting PHO (pronounced Fuh) and funny names like Pho'ever, Pho'nomeal and Pho-Hieu. It's fun to try the many different versions of this soup.

This is our very unauthentic version - which turned out to be more of a Chicken Noodle with a Vietnamese twist. We called it Pho-bulous after the newest restaurant in our area. There are lots of variations on this soup, so feel free to add more spices, fish sauce, ginger and even thin strips of beef or shredded chicken if you wish. Either way, you can't go wrong.

I happened to have chicken stock made from a roasted chicken with lots of onions and vegetables which made the soup extra rich.

Then I topped it with chopped basil (Thai basil is traditional but regular basil will do) cilantro, thinly sliced green onions, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Twelve-thirty pm. my daughter was contentedly slurping her soup.

When you need a fix, you need a fix.


Cynthia said...

I've never had Pho but have heard such great things about it. The next time I am in the US, I'll definitely go in search of it.

Michelle said...

Thanks for stopping by Cynthia, Pho is definitely worth looking for, and a lot of fun to eat! Just ask around next time you're in the states, I'm sure any major city will have more than one good restaurant serving this dish.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Michelle, I loved this post about your daughter! What a great kid!