Cheese cloth sachet
4 whole cloves
2 wheels of star anise (whole foods or Fresh market - dry herbs)
2 tablespoons of coriander seeds (pre-toasted in a hot pan)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 regular rotisserie chicken ( carved and portioned )
1 qt of low sodium chicken broth
1 shallot - julienne thin (important)
1 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small or ½ large bunch cilantro
1 ½ pounds small flat rice noodles (bánh pho), dried or fresh
2 green onions (green part only), thinly sliced into circles
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (leafy tops only)
3 cups bean sprouts (about ½ pound)
12 to 15 fresh culantro leaves
2 or 3 Thai or serrano chiles, thinly sliced
2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges
1st carve down your rotisserie chicken and set aside on a plate
You need 2 pots for this recipe. One for your noodles and one for your broth. Once you've toasted your coriander seeds in the smaller dry broth pot. Assemble your cheesecloth sachet. In the smaller of your 2 pots bring your chicken broth to a boil. It takes about 20 minutes for the sachet to steep and release. In the meantime slice your shallot real thin. You can julienne or ring them. Add your fish sauce and sesame oil to the broth lower the heat.
In the larger pot bring your water to a boil. Once boiling drop in a bundles of your Bahn pho' rice noodles. It takes about 5 minute to cook these noodles. Anymore than that and the turn into a mass and get gummy. At 5 minutes, strain them and run COLD water over them to stop the cooking process. Now it's time too assemble your dish. Very easy
Portion out a serving of noodles in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the broth over the doodles until they float. Now place your carved chicken on top of the noodles with the sliced shallot and let stand for a couple of minutes to lightly poach the shallot and warm the chicken meat. Finally add your garnishes to your liking. Traditionally it is served with Thai basil. I find that too overbearing to the rest of the spices. Cilantro works best and coupled with the addition of a squish of lime? Sublime . Now eat it and bask in the cuisine that exemplifies Vietnam. BEAUTIFUL food!
Don't forget the Hoisin and the Sriracha!