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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

CHICKEN PHO MY WAY




This steaming bowl of nourishing flavour guarantees to tick all the boxes with tender crispy chicken, slippery noodles swimming in a Pho flavoured beef broth topped with fresh herbs.

Vietnamese food is one of my absolute favourite cuisines and if you have never had ‘pho’ pronounced ‘fur ’which is undisputedly their most famous dish, then this recipe is going to directly teleport you to the heavenly realm. A drizzle of my 'secret ingredient', my Luck dragon Asian sauce, the flavours meld together with umami and balanced acidity. Every mouthful will be savoured and the table will fall silent of chatter only to be replaced by the sounds of slurping mouths and moans of pleasure.


This iconic dish can be whipped up in under 20 mins and not only is it packed with nutrition and serious flavour it will leave you contentedly fed whilst still feeling light and refreshed. Cook it for a leisurely lunch or as a weeknight wonder. This meal will impress even the most fussy of eaters. To make it vegetarian simply swap out the chicken for tofu or for a more traditional version add very thinly sliced beef eye fillet right at the end.


Did you know? Vietnamese food is some of the healthiest in the world. Their wide array of dishes are always filling yet light because most Vietnamese cooking is low in fat, is immune system-boosting, packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, and is mostly gluten-free. For much of its history, Vietnam had been occupied by two countries that just happen to boast arguably the greatest cuisines in the world: France and China. Add to that a mild influence from India, and you have a melting pot of influences that combine to guarantee the evolution of exceptional food.


Boasting highly skilled cooks they also have access to some of the best food resources on the planet thanks to the fact that the Mekong delta is incredibly fertile, allowing for the farming of abundant varieties of fruit, vegetables, and healing herbs which can be grown all throughout the year. This also gives rise to the rearing of healthy protein in the form of cows, pigs and chickens. And because of Vietnam’s proximity both freshwater and the ocean, they also have access to a huge variety of seafood. In fact it's difficult to think of any country more uniquely positioned to produce a more remarkable fusion of ingredients and cultural cuisine.


Chef Dylan tips: 1.Head to the supermarket and grab a litre of ‘Campbells real stock’ Vietnamese Beef Pho base. Its the best $4.50 you will spend. 2.When cooking the Chicken pieces make sure the pan is nice and hot and don’t overcrowd the pan. Leave them alone to let them crisp up nicely before you turn them. 5. Buy your chicken from a good butcher. Some supermarket chicken can be ‘water infused’ you will know if it is because water will be released from the meat when cooking which will cause the meat to stew instead of frying. 6. Ask the butcher to slice and dice the thigh into 1cm cubes.


Richmond Melbourne 2015

"Thanks for agreeing to have that meeting with Duy’s family” says Andrew my long time friend from the Gold Coast as we exit the cafe “Ever since they decided to open the four restaurants they have been super stressed and your advice went down a treat. The whole family finally agrees for once!” he says in relief. “Not a problem at all, glad I could help. They seem like really nice people I add” “Well I’ve known them for a few more years than you but yes they are nice in there own unique way” he gibes rubbing his chin with his hand whilst gazing upwards as he stoops down to get into the car “Besides I’m starving! Let me thank you by taking you to my favourite pho restaurant, my shout”. “Sounds epic” I chime in as we enter a thick line of traffic.


As we grind our way through the city streets I start to notice the signs of the shopfronts begin to transform into Vietnamese characters “We’re here!” says Andy triumphantly as he pulls into a carpark. When we exit the vehicle a light rain begins to fall “Don’t worry it’s just a few meters down the street" says Andy pulling up his trench coat collar setting off. I have to hurry to keep up with his long legs striding ahead. Soon we turn to head down a small lane way and arrive at a small restaurant bustling with activity “All good” says Andy with a wink noticing my concern “I’ve already booked a table for us”.


We are led to our table by a long haired Vietnamese looking youth of barely sixteen with black eyeliner around his slender eyes. As we sit he expertly flings us a couple of menus with his long fingers adorned with black varnish and then he promptly turns to leave without saying a word. I inhale a long deep breath savouring the distinctly delightful aroma of beef stock. Andrew with the menu hiding his mouth whispers cheekily “No one speaks English here, just point to the number next to the Pho you want when the goth returns”. “What’s Pho Ga?” I ask pointing to number 8. “Ah that means chicken and its sensational” he answers with such conviction that I instantly start to salivate on cue like one of pavlov’s dogs.


PREP TIME: 5 mins

COOKING TIME: 15 mins

SERVINGS: 2-4


INGREDIENTS

  • 200g rice noodles (fresh or vermicelli)

  • 1 Ltr ‘Campbells real stock ’Vietnamese Beef Pho base

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 600g chicken thigh, 1cm cubes

  • 100 ml LUCK DRAGON Asian sauce

  • 2 tbs cooking oil

For Garnish

• 1/2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

• 1/4 red onion, sliced thin

• Thai Basil or Italian

• Mint or Vietnamese mint

• Coriander

• Bean shoots

• Mild long red chilli, sliced


METHOD

  1. Arrange garnish ingredients in separate piles on a large plate.

  2. In a large pot add stock and bring to a simmer.

  3. While stock is coming to temp heat a large fry pan on medium high heat.

  4. Add oil and then place in the chicken pieces and cook for 5-7 mins until nice and crisp on one side (cook in batches if you have too).

  5. Add in garlic and stir for 1 min until fragrant.

  6. Add LUCK DRAGON Asian sauce and simmer then turn off the heat.

  7. Gently spoon the mix into the stock, be sure to get all that flavour in there! Then bring back to a simmer.

  8. Add noodles and bring back to simmer until cooked.

  9. Ladle into 4 warm bowls.

TO SERVE


At the table allow guests to add garnish on top of broth and add a squeeze of lemon juice to finish.

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