Ah, I needed some Asian flavors after 18 days in Europe.
While I LOVE all things pasta/pizza/panini, sometimes a girl needs a break from wheat!
This recipe is actually a throwback. I created & posted it on my old blog, waaaaay back in 2011. (Crazy to think I started blogging (albeit only sporadically) five years ago!)
Safe to say, it’s a winner.
I only keep recipes in my running repertoire if I really really enjoy them. Otherwise, I make something new. My general cooking philosophy is “Why make the same thing twice, when there are so many amazing recipes to try?!”
This soup is inspired by Vietnamese pho.
Way back in 2011, I probably spent some time explaining what pho is, but it’s become a pretty mainstream soup these days, so I won’t waste my breath (or, keystrokes, I should say).
The best part is, it has the wonderful flavor profile of pho broth (thanks to ginger, garlic, onion, star anise, & cinnamon), but simmers for just 20 minutes.
Rather than using the authentic oxtail to flavor the broth, I cheated and used chicken broth 🙂 And instead of thinly slicing some raw beef & having it quick-cook when served in the boiling hot broth, I just sautéed some strips of pork & cooked them in the broth. These simple swaps make this soup totally easy, and totally delicious.
The toppings are key to this soup.
The fresh cucumber, bean sprouts, lime, and herbs balance the warm, soothing, rich broth. You get the comforting feeling of mom’s chicken soup, with a fresh pop of herbs and veggies (plus a spicy kick from sriracha, if you choose to indulge). Win-win.
And even though it’s a soup, it somehow feels appropriate on a warm summer evening. Can’t wait for you to enjoy it!
Vietnamese Noodle Soup
- 1.5 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips, about 1 1/2 inches in length, 1/4 inch in width
- salt and pepper, for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
- 1 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomato
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (check label for gluten free, if needed)
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 oz rice noodles
- 3 limes, halved
- several handfuls mung bean sprouts, for garnish
- 1/2 english cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced, for garnish
- 1 bunch fresh mint, minced for garnish
- 1 bunch fresh basil, minced for garnish
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced for garnish
- Sriracha, for garnish
- Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is just browning, about 5 minutes.
- Add the scallions, ginger, garlic, and onion and saute for 3 more minutes until very fragrant. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, water, fish sauce, star anise, and cinnamon stick to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles in boiling water for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.
- When the soup is done simmering, remove the cinnamon stick and star anise and stir in the juice of 1 lime. To serve, add rice noodles to your bowl, then ladle some soup over the noodles. Top with bean sprouts, cucumber, fresh herbs, fresh lime juice, and a drizzle of siracha. Serve immediately.