One of my favorite food spots in Grenoble was a Chinese restaurant (more accurately a Pan Asian) called Tu Bong. My friend Laura and I were amazed by the spicy sauces, the homemade tofu, and the unbelievably cute family that runs the restaurant. I didn’t taste the Pho, the definite menu highlight, until the final week of abroad.
Pho is a rice noodle soup served in a rich and flavorful broth with garnishes of bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and chili peppers. I decided to whip up a pot of it today using chicken as the protein, along with a batch of chicken and mushroom pot stickers. I know it’s a lot of chicken, but that’s what my family likes and the flavors were all good, so I was happy to oblige.
I searched around for all different recipes, and adapted them into this one. It’s pretty low maintenance, and doesn’t involve par-boiling or stripping a whole chicken, so that’s good. The flavor was yummy, but not as good as the real deal recipes you can find online and at Tu Bong. Also, feel free to substitute pork or beef or tofu.
Two Skinless Chicken Breast cut into chunks
1 Large knob of Ginger
A bunch of fresh cilantro
4 cups of Vegetable Broth
4 cups of Water
1/2 of a red onion sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons of Fish Sauce
5 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon of Raw Turbinado Sugar
2 teaspoons of Chinese 5 Spice
2 teaspoon of Ground Coriander
5 pepper corns
Rice Noodles (4 servings)
Garnishes: Fresh mint, basil, and cilantro leaves; chopped scallions, bean sprouts, sauteed mushrooms, chopped chili peppers, lime wedges, Sriracha, etc.
Marinade the chicken for 30 minutes to 1 hour in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of 5 spice, and 1 teaspoon of ground coriander. Cook the chunks in vegetable until just slightly undercooked in a really hot soup pot, making sure to brown all the sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and reserve for later. Add a bit more oil and saute the onion and 3 large chunks of ginger in the same pot. Once the onions start to soften add the rest of the soy sauce and the spices. Cook until the soy sauce has mostly evaporated. Add the broth, the water, the fish stock, and the bunch of cilantro leaves. Bring up to a boil and then let simmer for at least an hour. Strain the broth to remove all solids and skim the top if it looks too oily. Feel free to add more fish stock or more sugar to achieve the right balance of salt/sweet.
Boil the noodles as per the directions on the box. Strain. Add the noodles and the chicken to the broth and let simmer together for about 15 minutes before service.
Chicken and Mushroom Potstickers
1/2 pound ground chicken
1 bunch of chopped cilantro
2 chopped scallions
1 lightly beaten egg
1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 generous squirt of Sriracha
1/3 of a cup of finely chopped sauteed mushrooms (I used babybellas but use whatever type you have around the house or like)
Soy Sauce/Rice Wine Vinegar mixed together in equal proportions for a dipping sauce.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for about an hour. To make the pot sticker place a small ball of filling in the center. Dab warm water along two adjacent edges of the wonton skin and fold the other to over to form triangles. Be sure to seal the edges very tightly.
Lightly grease a pan with vegetable and bring up to a very high heat. Add as many pot stickers as will fit. You will knock your pan isn’t hot enough if the pot stickers don’t make a crackling sound when you add them. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. The edges should begin to brown. Add 1/2 a cup of water and seal with a lid, cooking the potstickers for another 2 minutes. Add more water if they are still stuck. Place in a warm oven while you make the rest of the batches.