“Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”
My poor wife was suffering through a terrible cold. The kind that pretends to go away for a day, fooling you into believing somehow you survived the worst. Then comes back with a debilitating vengeance that makes you wonder if it will ever end. I felt so sorry for her. She laid on the couch, snugly wrapped in two jackets, not noticing Beau bouncing next to her. Her chapped nose raw from constant blowing and rosy flushed cheeks. She whispered in a soft feeble voice, half begging for chicken soup. I made her a quick and easy Vietnamese chicken soup (chicken pho) to heal her and help forget her woes.
A lot of us have been brought up on the old folk tales of grandma’s chicken soup having healing powers. But science has shown it is really true. Chicken soup contains cysteine, an amino acid that reduces inflammation, sea salt thins mucus, and chicken helps you produce disease fighting antibodies. I put tons of fresh ginger root which contains gingerol and shaogal which relieve sore throats and kill rhinoviruses. Hot peppers, which contain capsaicin, the compound that makes them spicy, acts as a powerful decongestant. You do not have to be sick to enjoy this healing soup, though it is nicer when your grandma makes it for you!
- 2 quarts homemade Chicken Stock
- 2 Carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 Onion, chopped with skin
- 2 inch piece Ginger root, chopped
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
- 1 tablespoon Vietnamese Fish Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 3.5 pound Chicken
- 2 quarts chicken broth, from above
- 1 bunch Cilantro
- 2 Scallions, sliced thinly
- 16 ounce package of Rice Noodles, cooked according to package
- 8 sprigs Thai Basil
- 2 cups Mung Bean Sprouts
- 1 Lime, cut into six wedges
- 1 Jalapeno, sliced thin
- Bring the homemade chicken stock, carrots, onions, ginger, cinnamon stick, five spice, Vietnamese fish sauce and brown sugar to a boil.
- Add whole chicken, bring back to a boil, then boil 20 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let chicken sit another 30 minutes in hot broth.
- Remove chicken and let cool till you can handle without screaming.
- Remove all the meat off the chicken saving the skin and bones for a future homemade chicken stock. I like to keep the drumsticks and wings whole and shred the rest of the meat.
- Heat you chicken broth.
- Add chicken meat, scallions and half of your cilantro and bring back to a boil.
- Divide rice noodles between four bowls.
- Ladle broth, meat and vegetables evenly in bowls.
- On a separate plate put remaining cilantro, Thai Basil, Mung Bean Sprouts, lime wedges and jalapeno.