A Delicious Healthy Noodle Bowl!
"Pho" translates to rice flour noodles. "Banh Pho" translates to flat rice noodles or ribbon rice noodles. Pho noodle bowls are usually served with varying amounts of broth. If the proportion of broth is high, then the noodle bowl is usually called a soup, but not always. This is because more often than not the focus is on the featured ingredient, which is noodles!
Fresh Ribbon Rice Noodles were used in today's recipe and these noodles can be found at Asian food markets. Some fresh noodles are uncooked and they will need to be boiled then shocked in ice water. The Ribbon Rice Noodles that I purchased were cooked and shocked before being packaged. Pre-cooked Banh Pho is a nice convenience.
Eel is popular in Europe and Asia, but in America eel is not really a mainstream item. The Broiled Eel in today's recipe is the same as what many sushi restaurants use. Prepared Broiled Eel is available at Asian food markets as a cryovac packaged frozen food product. Prepared Broiled Eel is basted, broiled and ready to serve.
Sun Dried Anchovies are used in nearly every Southeast Asian cuisine. In Japan, Sun Dried Anchovies are often used to make a rich flavored Dashi Broth for Miso Soup.
Surimi is made from ground dried fish meal. In America, Surimi is marketed as Imitation Crab Meat. The Surimi fish meal paste can be shaped in just about any way imaginable. The Surimi that I chose for today's recipe had a decorative cherry bloom design.
Banh Pho Noodle Bowl with Broiled Eel, Surimi and Sun Dried Anchovy:
This recipe yields 1 large noodle bowl.
Be sure to have all of the ingredients ready ahead of time. This brothy noodle bowl only takes a short time to cook!
Step 1: Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
Briefly sautee for just a few seconds, till the garlic and ginger become aromatic.
Step 2: Add 2 3/4 cups of light vegetable broth.
Add 4 thin slices of peeled fresh lotus root that are cut in half.
Add 5 thin slices of daikon radish.
Add 1 tablespoon of Vietnamese Fish Sauce.
Add 14 small sun dried anchovies that are about 1" long.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped rinsed salt packed wakame seaweed.
Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
Step 3: Bring the broth to a gentle boil.
Boil the soup till the dried anchovies and wakame are reconstituted.
Continue boiling till the lotus root and daikon radish start to become tender.
*Lotus Root will have a crispy bite (al dente) even after it is gently boiled for more than 10 minutes. Allow the broth to reduce to 2 cups. Add a splash of water if the level of broth is too low.
Step 4: Add 2 thin slices of onion.
Add 4 to 6 slices of green serrano chile pepper.
Add 2 thick slices of fancy surimi.
Add 1 portion of fresh Banh Pho (ribbon rice noodles).
Add 4 very thin julienne sliced snow peas.
Add 5 or 6 whole fresh Thai Basil Leaves.
Step 5: Bring the broth back to a gentle boil.
Briefly boil for about 1 minute, so the aromatic vegetables still have a crisp bite.
Step 6: Remove the pot from the heat.
Pour the ingredients into a large bowl.
Use chopsticks or tongs to arrange the surimi and lotus root slices on top, so the noodle bowl looks nice.
Step 7: Cut 2 pieces of Prepared Broiled Eel that are about 4" long. (About 3 to 4 ounces is plenty.)
Place the 2 pieces Broiled Eel in the hot broth on the center of the of the noodle bowl.
Sprinkle 1 thin bias sliced green onion top on the broth.
Place a small bunch of cilantro sprigs on the edge of the noodle bowl.
This is a good tasting noodle bowl that has eye appeal!