This flavorful broth-based Vietnamese-style soup is infused with fragrant ginger, garlic and whole spices, then piled high with fresh herbs and delicate pea shoots for a hit of freshness. If your shoots are longer than a few inches, snip them into shorter, bite-size pieces.
20 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large)
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 oz brown rice vermicelli noodles
1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 cups pea shoots
1/2 cup each loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro and chopped fresh mint
2 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine broth, ginger, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, turmeric and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add chicken. Simmer gently, uncovered, until chicken is no longer pink inside and reaches 165˚F when tested with an instant-read thermometer in center, about 15 minutes. (NOTE: Do not boil.) Using tongs, transfer chicken to a cutting board; let cool slightly. Chop or shred into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Arrange a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl; strain broth mixture through sieve, discarding solids. Return liquid to Dutch oven and heat on low. Stir in chicken, lime juice and pepper and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; divide among bowls. Ladle broth mixture over top, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with jalapeño, pea shoots, cilantro, mint and green onions, dividing evenly.
This quick version of Vietnamese pho has you add the standard garnishes, such as scallions and sprouts, right to the pot, so all you have to do is ladle it into bowls and serve. Spicy daikon radishes stand in for rice noodles.
For an eye-catching contrast of colors, try using red or tricolor quinoa. To save time, buy the frozen spinach that’s already chopped and thaw it in your fridge overnight; just be sure to squeeze it dry before using.