Speedy Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)

Pho 4

Pho (pronounced “fuh“) is a light and fragrant noodle soup that hails from northern Vietnam. Made with beef (bo) or chicken (ga), locals traditionally enjoy steaming bowls of pho garnished with fresh herbs for breakfast but in my opinion, any time is a good time for pho! The authentic recipe involves making the beef or chicken stock from scratch but I’m sharing my recipe for speedy pho today for a quick and healthy meal.

Serves 4              Preparation time: 10 minutes       Cooking time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 chicken breast fillets, thickly sliced diagonally
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 150g flat rice noodles
  • Boiling water

Garnish

  • 100g bean shoots
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (to serve)
  • 2 tbs crisp fried shallots (optional)

METHOD:

1. In a large saucepan, combine water, ginger, garlic slices, star anise, soy sauce and fish sauce.  Bring to the boil over high heat.  Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low.

2. Add chicken slices and simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked.  Remove chicken from poaching liquid and set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Shred when cooled.

3. Remove ginger and star anise from poaching liquid and discard.  Add chicken stock to poaching liquid, and return to simmer.

4. Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water.  Stand for 5 minutes then drain.

5. Divide noodles between serving bowls. Top with chicken, and ladle stock mixture into bowls.  Garnish with bean shoots, mint, coriander, spring onion, chilli and fried shallots (if using).

© 2017 Sunshine and Gelato

Princess Diana: 20 years on

When I was a little girl, my parents used to have my hair cut the “Lady Diana” style.  Apparently it was all the rage back in the early 80s, and Princess Diana fever had reached our island home of Sri Lanka.  Not that I knew anything about that at the time of course because I had no idea who this woman was or why I needed to get my hair cut like hers.  I just wanted long hair like all the other kids my age.  I eventually saw a photograph of Princess Diana and immediately wanted a new hairdresser – I didn’t think I looked anything like her!  But when you’re 6 or 7, you don’t have many options so I tried to rock my short do as best as I could.  Looking back on photographs of junior me, I can see that my hair cut did resemble hers in a way…but just slightly less glamorous.

This was my introduction to the phenomenon that was Princess Diana, and like millions of others, I feel like I grew up with her as a constant presence in the periphery of our lives.  When we migrated to Australia, there was a  lot more of Diana.  Maybe my parents had stopped caring about censoring our media exposure back then but she seemed to be everywhere.  I have distant memories of watching the Panorama interview with Martin Bashir, sympathising with her and feeling saddened by her experience.  The fairy tale was over but she would find her happily ever after.

And then August 31, 1997 happened.  Even though it was nearly 20 years ago, I still remember that day very clearly.  I was studying for my Year 12 exams, and my sister came running up to tell me that Princess Diana had been involved in a car accident.  But she was fine – she only had a broken arm.  Relieved she was relatively unhurt, I went back to the books.  An hour later, she was dead.  Shock.  Disbelief. Being glued to the television as the horrific details of the accident trickled in.  A week later, we set our alarm clocks to watch the funeral procession live from London.  Prince William was only 2 years younger than me, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to walk behind your mother’s coffin in front of millions of people.

It was only after Princess Diana’s death that I gained a true appreciation for her work and humanitarian efforts.  I didn’t know her personally but she always struck me as a very genuine person who cared deeply about the suffering of others and who wanted to make the world a better place for everyone.  She just radiated warmth and compassion.  And that’s how I will always remember her.

© 2017 Sunshine and Gelato

Moroccan Ghoriba

Moroccan Ghoriba

What do you do when you have an entire packet of fine semolina? You make Ghoriba, of course.  These moorish little semolina and coconut biscuits are perfect with a cup of tea.  Just try stopping at one!

Makes 30 biscuits

INGREDIENTS

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 2 tbsp oil (preferably unflavoured)
  • 250g desiccated coconut
  • 170g fine semolina
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 drops rosewater essence
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Icing sugar (to dust)

METHOD

  1. Place sugar, eggs and butter in a bowl.  Beat with an electric beater until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Add oil and mix well.
  3. Add desiccated coconut, semolina and baking powder and mix well until combined.
  4. Allow the mixture to rest for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the water and rose essence together.
  6. To shape the biscuits, dip your fingers into the bowl of rose water.  Then scoop up a small ball of dough (~3cm diameter) and shape it into a ball.  Place the ball onto the baking tray.  Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. Dust the cookies with icing sugar (NB – traditionally, the tops of the biscuits are dipped in icing sugar before being placed on the tray. I found it tricky to remove the balls from the icing sugar without ruining their shape with this method, hence resorting to dusting them).
  8. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until they are lightly browned.  The tops should be cracked.  Allow the cookies to cool on the tray before transferring them to a wire rack. Serve with tea!

© 2017 Sunshine and Gelato