Pho Ga (Hanoi Chicken and Rice Noodle Soup)
INGREDIENTS: 8 oz rice Vermicelli 8 cups chicken stock 8 oz chicken breast, thinly sliced against the grain Basil, several leaves Mint, several leaves 1 cup mung bean sprouts, root ends trimmed 2 or more bird's eye or Thai chilies, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced 1-2 cup fried shallots 1 lime, quartered Fish Sauce (to taste)
METHOD: Place the rice sticks in a dish with lukewarm water to cover. Let stand until pliable, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the chicken stock into a pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover until ready to use. Bring a pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Drain and divide the rice stick noodles into 4 equal portions. Place noodles, one portion at a time, in a sieve and lower it into the boiling water. Untangle the noodles with chopsticks and boil until tender but firm, about 7 seconds. Remove and drain the noodles, then place them in a large soup bowl. Repeat this step until you have 4 individual servings. Blanch the chicken pieces in the same boiling water for about 2 minutes per batch. Divide and place atop each noodle serving. Pour a generous amount of hot broth over each serving and garnish with some traditional herbs, mung bean sprouts, chilies, and fried shallots. Squeeze a wedge of lime over each serving and adjust the seasoning with fish sauce.