I love food travelling; in other words, making a dish or meal that transports you to somewhere else. That is what this soup does for me. One sniff and one taste, I am back to Hanoi in Vietnam. Making these travel inspired dishes is also a whole lot cheaper than going there, even if it only lasts for the duration of the soup supping!
Please feel free to alter the vegetables to whatever you have or what ever is on offer at the time. The garnishes are also personal preference too. In Vietnam, they arrive on a dish separate from the soup and it is up to the diner to add which and what and how much to give a personalised soup.
Vit Phô – Vietnamese Duck Soup
Serves 2-4, depending how greedy and if a main dish or snack/lunch dish1 duck carcass (left over from the Sunday night roast duck) spice mix (1/2 a cinnamon stock, 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds, 3-4 star anise, 2 cardamom pods, 4 whole cloves) 2″ knob of ginger, don’t bother to peel, just cut or slice roughly 1 or 2 red chilis, depending how hot they are and how hot you like it (I only had dried) 1 tbsp fish sauce 1 large onion, do not peel but roughly cut into wedges 1 nest/layer of vermicelli rice noodles per person (I added 2 which was enough for 3 servings) mix of vegetables e.g. bok choi, mangetout, mini sweetcorn To Serve- thinly sliced red chili limes cut into wedges bean sprouts fresh coriander herb sweet chili sauce (my personal favourite) To make the pho broth, in a large pan that will hold the duck carcass fully submerged and has a tight fitting lid, put the duck carcass, the whole spices, ginger, chili, fish sauce and onion (and fresh coriander stalks if you have any). Add enough fresh water until the carcass is just submerged. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least an hour, and ideally 2-3 hours. Remove the duck carcass from the broth and leave to cool on a plate. When cooled enough to handle, pick off the meat (and skin – it is traditional) and reserve the meat and throw away the bones. Strain the broth through a sieve into a clean pan, taste and adjust salt levels if necessary. Bring back to a simmer and add the noodles, vegetables and reserved meat; simmer for a minute or two then ladle into bowls and serve with the accompaniments, which are essential not optional.