Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Banh Pho with Lemongrass Shrimp, Snow Peas and Enoki

     A Quick Easy Snack Noodle Style Banh Pho Recipe!
     Nearly everybody has made Snack Ramen Noodles at one time or another.  All that needs to be done is to drop the portion of dried Ramen in a pot of water, bring the water to a boil and add the bouillon flavor packet.  When the noodles are tender, then they are ready.  There is no need to shock the noodles in cold water or do anything else.  Snack Ramen are meant to be a simple one pot meal.  In fact plenty of ingredients can be added to the Snack Ramen while they cook and the noodles will still turn out good.
     Not every kind of noodle can be cooked like Snack Ramen.  During the course of a few days during the work week, I experimented with cooking a few different kinds of noodles with a basic Snack Ramen Noodle cooking method.  Some of the noodles became so gummy that they stuck together in one big glob, while another kind of noodle just completely fell apart.  
     When I tried cooking a small portion of thick Banh Pho Noodles with the simple Snack Ramen Method, something interesting happened.  The excess rice starch from the Banh Pho actually thickened the broth.  The Banh Pho noodles remained intact and they were tender, but enough of the rice flour must have dissolved to thicken the broth like a sauce.  Because shrimp broth and a few whole shrimp were added to the boiling Banh Pho, the thickened broth had an interesting pink color.  
     Instead of just casting the results aside, I decided to turn the noodle experiment into a recipe.  As can be seen in the photos above, the simple Snack Ramen Noodle cooking style resulted in an appealing Banh Pho Snack Noodle Bowl!               
     Banh Pho Lemon Grass Shrimp, Snow Peas and Enoki:  
     This recipe yields 1 petite noodle bowl.
     The starch from the banh pho rice noodles will thicken the broth and the broth will become a sauce.  The heat from the sauce in the bowl is enough heat to cook the delicate Enoki Mushroom garnish.  Season this dish lightly, so the full lemon grass flavor is not masked.  
     Step 1:  Tie 1 lemongrass stalk into a simple knot.
     Place 2 1/4 cups of shrimp broth in a sauce pot.
     Place the pot over medium high heat.  
     Add the lemongrass knot.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the lemongrass flavor is infused.  (about 15 minutes)
     Discard the lemon grass knot.
     Step 3:  Bring the broth back to a boil over medium high heat.
     Add 1 small portion of dried flat ribbon rice noodles (banh pho).
     Boil till the noodles are almost become fully cooked.
     Step 4:  Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Add 5 whole medium size shrimp.  (Leave the heads on the shrimp.)
     Boil till the shrimp are almost fully cooked.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the volume is about 1 2/3 cups.
     Stir the ingredients, so the starch from the noodles thickens the broth.
     Step 6:  Add 8 snow peas.
     Simmer for 30 seconds.
     Step 7:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Ladle the noodles, sauce and shrimp into serving bowl.
     Place a few fresh Enoki mushrooms on top of the noodles and sauce as a garnish.  Try to arrange the shrimp, so they can be seen.
     No garnish is necessary!

    This is a nice tasting noodle bowl!

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