Thursday, June 19

Lazy Pho with Bok Choy

Leftover braising liquid from Chinese style ribs becomes the basis for this quick and easy take on pho 

Quick Bok Choy Pho with Pork Rib Stock

As a working wife in charge of most of our home's meal planning, I love making a recipe over the weekend and repurposing the leftovers for a different meal later in the week. The basis of any pho, the popular Vietnamese noodle soup, comes from a richly flavored broth and I used the braising liquid from these Chinese style ribs to make quick work of mine. The rib stock is initially made from simmering baby back ribs with onions, carrots, ginger, and soy sauce, which makes for a deep and flavorful pork stock. I skim the fat off the stock, add in a few spices, and then cook my vegetables and noodles in there for a simple and fast one-pot pho. If you're not using homemade rib stock, you can achieve a similar-tasting broth by adding soy sauce and ginger to store-bought beef stock.

Garnishes for Homemade Pho

Most pho contains some sort of thinly sliced or shredded meat, but I wanted something lighter after all the ribs we ate (plus the stock is pretty rich and porky on its own) and used bok choy instead. The vegetables add a little bit of crunch and body to the soup, which, when combined with rice noodles, is pretty filling. The key to a great pho is in the toppings, which are meant to be sprinkled on top as your eat your way through the soup so that their freshness and textures are preserved. My favorites are crispy fried shallot rings (see note below for the recipe), cilantro, and fresh jalapeno, but you could also do Sriracha, Thai basil, bean sprouts, etc. It's an inventive and super cheap way to use leftover stock that you might have just thrown away otherwise.

Related Recipes:
- Duck & Vegetable Asian Noodles
- Tom Kha Gai Soup
- Wonton Soup

Lazy Pho with Bok Choy:
  • Skim the fat off of 6 c. of pork rib stock* and place in a heavy pot with 2 star anise, 2 black cardamom pods, and 4 cloves.
  • Simmer the broth on low heat for 30-35 minutes, then discard the spices and increase the heat to a heavy simmer.
  • Meanwhile, thinly slice 4-5 heads of bok choy, separating the leafy green tops into a separate pile.
  • Add the non-leafy parts of the bok choy to the broth and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add in 6 oz. rice noodles and the leafy greens and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Spoon the soup into bowls and pass around a plate of cilantro leaves, sliced jalapenos, fried shallot rings,** etc. to garnish with.

Serves two-three
*Leftover from this recipe. If you are starting from scratch, I would suggest combining 6 c. of low-sodium beef or pork broth with 2-3 tbsp. soy sauce and 1" of sliced fresh gingerroot. Add more soy sauce if needed to taste. Remove the ginger when you discard the spices.
**To make fried shallots, heat 1/2" of canola oil in a small pot over high heat for 3 minutes. Add in 2 thinly sliced shallots and cook for 3 minutes, or until crispy and brown. Remove shallots with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.