Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Who in their right mind makes soup in the middle of summer when it’s 110+ degrees outside? ...Oh, that’s right, I do.  Actually, call me crazy, but I made TWO different kinds of soup because I had a large batch of chicken broth to use, and I was in the zone.  Not exactly ideal for the current weather situation; but delicious, nonetheless.  

I was also pretty excited to create a paleo recipe using one of my new favorite foods...shirataki noodles.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with shirataki noodles, they are a ramen-like no-calorie (and thus, no-carb) noodle made from the water-soluble dietary fiber of the konjac yam.  Definitely a low-carb dieter’s dream.  I was initially concerned about one of the three ingredients in the noodles, calcium hydroxide, until I did a little google search (no doubt as a result of my innate thirst for knowledge) and found that it has long been used as a preservative in pickling (hence its alternative name “pickling lime”), and in a process called nixtamalization dating back to about 1500 BC.

But enough with the big words and back to the food… I usually make my own broth using bones from pasture raised chickens and scraps of veggies that I store in the freezer until I’m ready to make the broth (or stock, or whatever you want to call it).  I use this method from Nom Nom Paleo, which is super easy and convenient.  The broth does come out a little cloudy, which may be an error on my part, but the flavor is phenomenal.  For the chicken in this recipe, I simply oven-roasted the whole chicken at 400º for about an hour and a half after seasoning it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ground coriander; then, I let the chicken cool, removed the meat from the bones, and shredded it.  The chicken and broth both came out great, but the noodles really brought the dish together.  Enjoy!

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Broth Ingredients: 
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)

Ingredients for Serving:
  • 1-2 cups cooked shredded chicken (I used only the dark meat from a chicken I roasted in the oven, but feel free to use white meat if you prefer.)
  • 1 package shirataki yam noodles (prepared as directed on package)
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup sliced red onions
  • fresh chopped basil
  • additional lime wedges (optional)

  1. Place a stock pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the coconut aminos, lime juice, ginger, coriander, garlic powder, five-spice powder, salt and ¼ cup of the chicken broth to the pot, and bring to a simmer.  adjust seasoning if needed.
  2. Add the rest of the chicken broth and bring to a simmer once again.
  3. Serve the broth in individual bowls over ¼-½ cup of the shredded chicken, and ¼ cup of the noodles.
  4. Top with the onions and basil, and serve with a lime wedge on the side.

Disclaimer:  I do not receive anything in return for endorsing shirataki noodles.  It is simply a product that I think highly of, and wanted to share with you and the paleo community.